Tamara Ards enters her third year with the UNLV track and field program and she focuses on all horizontal and vertical jumps, the combined event athletes and the 400-meter group. She is also the recruiting coordinator for the Rebels.
Ards joined the UNLV staff after serving as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan where she worked primarily with the women's sprints, jumps, hurdles and multi-event athletes as well as handling recruiting efforts. Prior to working at EMU she was the track and field coordinator at Louisiana State University during the 2005-06 campaign, where she was responsible for all facets of the track department's recruiting efforts, fund-raising, travel arrangements and meet management.
"Coach Ards is everything I am looking for in an assistant coach," UNLV head coach Yvonne Scott said. "She is a great coach, recruiter and role model for student-athletes. Her dedication and commitment to excellence is unquestionable and I am confident that with her assistance we will take UNLV track and field to another level."
Scott and Ards know each other quite well, as they were teammates at the University of Colorado for four years, with the pair helping the Buffaloes win the Big 8 Conference championship in 1996.
Ards spent four years on the Colorado track and field coaching staff (2002-05), working with both the men's and women's programs. While at CU she coached primarily the men's and women's sprints and hurdles. During the 2003 season Ards coached freshmen AK Ikuwakor to an NCAA Regional qualifying time in the 400-meter hurdlers with a time of 51.99. During the 2004 season, she coached Deneeka Torrey to NCAA qualifying times of 13.42 in the 100-meter hurdles and 8.42 in the 60-meter hurdles. In 2005 her men's 4x400-meter relay ran the fifth-fastest time in CU's history with a time of 3:08.86, earning a spot in the NCAA regional meet.
In 2006 she was a part of the staff at LSU, primarily serving as the Track Coordinator, handling all business operations for the track program. On the track, Coach Ards had the opportunity to be mentored by jumps coach Boo Schexnayder as well as head coach Dennis Shaver in the sprint events. That year she was able to witness the training plan that enabled LSU sophomore Xavier Carter become the first person in NCAA history to win the 100 and 400 meters at the NCAA Championships. That year both men's and women's teams won the NCAA mideast regional team titles, sending 18 athletes to the NCAA Championships meet that year.
Ards earned All-America honors on the 1600-meter relay team in 1996 and was also a Big 8 Academic All-American four times (1992-95). Ards still holds the school record in the 400 meters and was the team captain from 1992-96.
Ards is a Level II certified coach in the areas of the jumps, sprints and hurdles and the combined events. This year she also became a USATF Level I Certified Instructor.
She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism in 1995 and spent seven years in that field before entering coaching in 2002 at her alma mater.