AAU Spotlight: Pastor Blow
and the TGM Windstepper Track Club
The Touch of Grace Ministries (TGM) Windsteppers Track Team was founded in 1989 through the vision and inspiration of Pastor Dr. Donald D. Ford I (Pastor and Founder of Second Missionary Baptist Church, aka SMBC) and Kimberly Waller. Since its inception, the team has had phenomenal success under the leadership of Kimberly Waller (1989-1995) and Duwayne Ford (1996-2000) respectfully, both of whom served as Head Coach and Commissioner. In 2001, Pastor Cornelius M. Blow assumed the role and continues the rich and prosperous tradition. Through this leadership, the TGM Windsteppers have been blessed to have athletes compete at the National AAU Junior Olympic Championships for the past twenty-six years.
Coach Blow recalls assuming the role of Head Coach and Commissioner at a time when team enrollment was at its lowest (12 athletes). He teamed with Albert Chisolm, former Youth Minister at SMBC, and together, they vowed to garner a whole new cadre of coaches to help instill the eleven basic needs that youth desire most:
5. Decision Making
10. Reality Goals
Those eleven basic needs were cultivated upon the foundation of the team scripture, which is recited before each track practice and meet.
Coach Blow reflects that his passion for working with youth is inspired by his own personal experience of being raised by his mother in a household that was absent of his father. He remembers how he channeled his anger and frustration through his participation in high school football, which ultimately earned him an athletic scholarship and provided an opportunity to play football at Missouri State University (1980-1985).
Giving leadership to the TGM Windsteppers allows Coach Blow the opportunity to reach young people in the community who may be experiencing similar challenges in their lives. His mission is to assist youth in finding their direction and purpose by providing a vehicle in which they can move to higher heights. He explains that most of the athletes who have gone through the program have found their “niche”, earned athletic scholarships and ultimately, the opportunity to achieve a college education.
Throughout its history, the TGM Windsteppers have nurtured stellar athletes who have captured numerous gold, silver and bronze medals at the national championships (Kendall Pyant, 1st Windstepper to capture a gold medal, 1999, 400M Dash) and can even boast a national record holder (Dapo Akinmoladun, 1st Windstepper to capture a national record, 2008, Triple Jump).
Over time, many coaches have come and gone and many teams have been birthed from the blueprint set forth by the TGM Windsteppers. Today, the team is stronger than ever and consists of over 120 athletes. Coach Blow credits much of the team’s success to his outstanding team of volunteer coaches and administrative staff including: Teresa Thomas, Herb Martin, Derrick Taylor, Sr., Keenan Jones, Anthony Wilson, Sr., Byron VonLeggett, Chris McKinzy, Kyanna Clapp, Arianna Kelly, Autumn Smith, Verdis Green, Dennis Hill, Sr., Dale Clark, Sr. and Executive Assistant, Rachel Turner. Coach Blow adds that another key factor to their success has been a strong male influence and the involvement of men who have a genuine interest in the future of our youth.
Coach Blow ponders on his almost 30 year marriage to wife, Sherryl, and is reminded that of the time that they’ve been together, half of it has been shared with his commitment to the TGM Windstepper Track Team. Together, they have embraced his passion to minister to youth and have reaped the benefits of their children’s (Darius, Desiree and D’Andria) involvement in the program. All of them have attended college with academic and athletic scholarships.