Tammy Talbert as a girls basketball coach for Alton. Talbert will now take over the boys and girls cross country squads this fall.

ALTON - Alton High School Athletic Director Chris Kusnerick, M.S., CAA, proudly announced this week the hiring of Tammy Talbert, a long-time coach in a variety of sports, as the new head boys and girls cross country coach for the Redbirds.

Running is one of Talbert's deepest athletic passions, as she was a college runner at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville where she ran track. Talbert is also an Alton High School and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale graduate. She obtained her master's degree at SIUE.

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Talbert has been an assistant coach within the Redbird cross country program and also coached for 17 years within the Alton Middle School track and field program, training many future AHS athletes.

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During her coaching career, she also has been involved in basketball and been the Alton School District Coordinator for the Special Olympics program. She replaces head cross country coach Vernon Curvey who recently stepped down as head coach of the program for 20 years to become the new assistant principal at Alton High School. Coach Talbert teaches physical education in Alton School District No. 11.

Talbert said she is excited to coach the boys and girls cross country team.

"There are some good runners in the program and also some good incoming freshman boys and girls," she said. "Running has always been a huge part of my life from middle school through now. I placed third in IHSA when I was in high school and then ran for Don DeNoon at SIUC, which he was an Olympic athlete and coach. After college, I began running marathons, and I still love running. I enjoy coaching runners, because they usually have a tough mentality. Either you like to run or you don’t. I look forward to working with our runners, and I will encourage them to work hard on a daily basis."

Kusnerick said: "Tammy brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in the area of running that will be very beneficial to our cross country program," he said. "With her being an assistant coach in the program in recent years, it will make for an easy transition for her new role."

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