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Blue Lightning Track Club Coaching Staff

More Than 100% of Blue Lightning Track Club's final roster qualified for the AAU National Junior Olympics in 2017.


The Blue Lightning Track Club’s coaches are passionate about developing youth athletes.  Collectively, we bring more than 60 years of combined youth, collegiate, national and international track and field experience to the team. We are comprised of National Champions, National Record Holders, NCAA All-Americans, Collegiate Conference Champions, High School State Champions, Regional Champions, MVP Award Recipients, and Sports Hall of Famers.

Professionally, we are business owners, consultants, managers, educators, counselors, human resources professionals, community advocates, and project managers.

Our coaching staff includes full athletic scholarship recipients and graduates from top academic and athletic programs in the United States – Auburn University (South Eastern Conference),  Brown University (Ivy League), and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Our coaches are consummate students of track and field and latest coaching techniques improving the sport. In addition to exposing youth to the exciting world of track and field and latest training fundamentals for speed, strength, and endurance, we emphasize a positive and motivational team environment.  Mentoring is an essential part of our coaching philosophy. We focus on developing a Champion’s mindset within each athlete and bringing out their best on the track, in the classroom and most importantly, in their communities.    As recent evidence of the effectiveness of our coaching philosophy, more than 90% of Blue Lightning Track Club athletes qualified for the AAU National Junior Olympics in 2017, and 100% were academic honor students.

We invite you to review our coaching staff through the profiles below.

Note: Our coaches are background-screened by USA Track and Field and AAU associations, and SafeSport Certified.

Steve Strother, Head Coach / 200-400m Sprints / Relays

Steve Strother is the co-founder and Head Coach of the Blue Lightning Track Club and a Certified Double-Goal Coach with the Positive Coaching Alliance and brings tremendous experience and skill to youth athletes. He was a 4-time NCAA Track and Field All-American, 11-time All-SEC Sprinter, and SEC Champion. His team won four SEC Championships during his Auburn athletic career. Coach Strother was inducted into the New Rochelle, N.Y. Sports Hall of Fame in 2013, and was recently profiled by Auburn University to represent their School of Arts and Sciences to potential Auburn students around the world.

Strother’s Track & Field Experience
– 2013-Present – Head Coach of Blue Lightning Track Club – Sprints / 400m / Relays.
– 1980 SEC Indoor Championships 4×400, 1st Place (Auburn Univ, 1st leg).
– 1980 SEC Indoor Championships 400m, 3rd Place (Auburn Univ).
– 1979 NCAA National Outdoor Championships, 2nd Place 4×100 (Auburn Univ, 3rd leg).
– 1979 NCAA National Qualifier in 200 Meters.
– 1978 Drake Relays 4×100 Meters Champion 1-st place (Auburn Univ, 2nd leg).
– 1979 Top 6 200 Meters SEC Championships (20.48).
– 1978 NCAA National Indoor Championships, 3rd Place 4x400m (Auburn Univ).
– 1978 NCAA National 400m Qualifier for Indoor Championships (Auburn Univ).
– 1978 Eastern Tennessee Invitational, 1st Place 400m (Auburn Univ).

– 1978 Eastern Tennessee Invitational, 2nd Place 4x400m (Auburn Univ, 3rd leg).
– 1978 Millrose Games 2nd Place 4×400 (Auburn Univ 3rd leg).
– 1978 Vitalis Olympic Invitational 2nd Place 4×400 (Auburn Univ 3rd leg).
– 1980 SEC Team Champions 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980.
– 1976 Eastern States H.S. Championships, 1st place 60-yard dash (New Rochelle H.S., Junior).
– 1976 New York State H.S. State Championships, 1st place 300-yard dash (New Rochelle H.S., Junior).
– 1976 New York State H.S. State Championships, 2nd place 60-yard dash (New Rochelle H.S., Junior).
– 1975 New York State H.S. State Championships, 1st place 880-yard Relay dash (New Rochelle H.S., Soph, Anchor).
– 1975 New York State H.S. State Championships, 2nd place 100-yard dash (New Rochelle H.S., Soph).
– 1975 New York State H.S. State Championships, 2nd place 60-yard dash (New Rochelle H.S., Soph).

Read more

Auburn University in Auburn, AL.
B.A., Psychology

Robert Pepe, Field Events Coach

Coach Pepe is not your typical track and field coach with decades of track and field experience, but he has the essentials – patience, passion, temperament, and great communication skills to coach youth athletes.  He has a thirst for knowledge of the sport and does his homework and knows how to coach what he has learned.

Coach Pepe has been a little league baseball assistant coach for the past 6 years, and a recently a mini-javelin and javelin coach for his son Frankie, who has been racking up medals this season. He is also an avid runner and has been running the Peachtree Road Race on and off for the past 35 years starting in 1982, as well as running in numerous 5k’s, 10k’s and half-marathons. Outside of track and field, Coach Pepe has participated in organized baseball, football and tennis.

Coach Pepe will lead a great group of Champions in the field event group.

1 – Caleb William – 11>
2 – Frankie Pepe – 11
3 – Joseph Haffner – 9
4 – Katheryn Wilber – 9
5 – Madison Davis – 10
6 – Mya Sales – 9 (2017 AAU National Champion for the age 8 division)
7 – Nathan Sales – 11 (2017 National Junior Olympian)


– Mini-Jav
– Javelin
– Discus
– Shot Put


John Marshall Law School, J.D. – 1995

Coach John Butler, III, Blue Lightning Track Club

John Butler, Distance Coach

Coach Butler, originally from Akron, Ohio, is a retired United State Airforce veteran.  He matriculated as a young distance runner during the running boom of the late 70s and early 80s.  He was guided and mentored by some of the finest coaches and runners of the Midwest during that era.  Coach Butler is also a USATF Level 1 distance coach whose experience includes: serving as the current 2018 XC Coach for Stockbridge H.S., former Head Boys Track & XC Coach, Columbia HS (Dekalb Co., 2008-11), & Rockdale County HS Distance Coach responsible for writing all of the distance workouts which enabled the Bulldog Boys XC  teams to have an unprecedented 4 year streak (2012-15) of GA State 6A qualifications.  Currently, Mr. Butler is a veteran educator in the Rockdale County School System.


800, 1500, 1600, steeplechase, 3000, 3200

Cross Country


A.S. – Medical Laboratory Technology, City University, Seattle (Washington);

B.A. – Liberal Studies (minor in History), Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois;

M.A. – Humanities (emphasis in History & Philosophy), California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, California;

M.Ed – Special Education (Behavioral Disorders), Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia;

Ed.S -Curriculum & Instruction, Argosy University Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia

Michelle Haffner, Race Walk Coach, Blue Lightning Track Club

Michelle Haffner, Race Walk Coach and USATF  Official

-Trained  AAU Junior Olympian Katie Haffner to a U.S. # 3 in the 2018 A1500-meter race walk.

-Trained  USATF Junior Olympian Katie Haffner to a U.S. # 7 in the 2018 1500-meter race walk

-Trained Junior Olympian Aaron Smith to a U.S. # 17 in 2018.

-Trained Junior Olympian Katie Haffner to a U.S. # 9 in 2017.

Matthew “Chaos” Glasper, Strength & Mobility Coach



  • Functional Coach
  • Core Specialist
  • Strength Specialist
  • Fast Twitch Muscle Specialist
  • Rehabilitation Awareness
  • Stretching Therapy


Cam Newton, Quarterback / Carolina Panthers
Christian Coleman (USA Track Fastest Man)
Dorsey Levens of NFL
Bria Matthews of Georgia Tech (Long Jump and Triple jump and Olympic Qualifier)
Eric Swainey of Old Miss Track
Lester Miller of Mississippi State Track
Ahmad Carroll aka Batman of NFL
Adam “Pacman” Jones of NFL, etc.


    • AAU Certified Coach


    • USATF Level 1 Coach Certified


    • Double-Goal Positive Coaching Alli


    • USATF Level 1 Coach Certified

      • Ignite360 Certification (Through IMG/Under Armor)
      • Aquatic Aerobics Instructor Certified
      • Stretching Certified
      • Lay Coach Certified (football, track and field)
      • AAU Coach Certified
      • 3rd Degree Black Belt (TaeKwondo Primary, MMA)

Strength Training and Credentials

      • USPA Powerlifting Member
      •     Bench Press National Record
        •     USPA State Record holder
          • Bench Press Record
          • Deadlift State Record
          • Squat State Record
          • Total Numbers State Record

  Drug-Free Powerlifting Member ONLY

        • National Meet 5th Place
      • Army Middleweight Bodybuilding Rep

Additional Training Credentials

Head Trainer at Augusta Distinguish Gentlemen Academy Football Camp, Fitness Model, etc.

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