If you’ve attended a sporting event at Riverside Military Academy in the past three years, you’re likely familiar with recent graduate Isaac Teasley.
Teasley — a Gainesville native who started his high school athletic career at Gainesville High before switching over to Riverside Military — quarterbacked the Eagles football team to its first ever playoff win since joining the GHSA. He helped lead the basketball team to a region championship game appearance in his senior year.
But Teasley’s third sport — the one that’s earned him three region championships and a state title in the last three years — is the one he’s most passionate about.
“Football has been a gateway for me for a long time to get to a lot of places that I needed to get to,” he said. “But track and field has always been the sport I love the most.”
When Teasley signed to run track for UNC Asheville, he ensured that he’d be sticking with track and field for at least the next four years.
It was an opportunity Teasley was never certain he would have. Track and field scholarships are hard to come by, and many schools were looking to recruit him to play multiple sports. But when University of the Cumberlands coach Alex Kluchki offered Teasley to run for the Patriots, he knew everything would work out.
“I want to say thank you first and foremost to God and then second of all to coach Kluchki at Cumberland,” Teasley said. “And then coach Wayne Jones, who coached at Gainesville, who now is at West Hall, for helping me throughout this. Coach Jones is the one who called all those schools and helped me get my offers and everything.”
Teasley had initially planned to sign with Lenoir-Rhyne University, but when track and field coach Danny Williamson was hired away from the Bears to coach at UNC Asheville, he extended a new offer for Teasley to come with him.
One trip to Asheville was all it took for Teasley to decide it was the right place for him.
“When I went to the campus, the campus felt like home,” he said. “The coach, coach Williamson, he’s a great coach, and it shows with his record. The place is great, it’s not too far, and he’s a great coach. I want to be behind him.”
The decision was a culmination of years of hard work with the Eagles. When pen finally hit paper, Teasley exchanged a look of joy with his mother who had supported him all along the way.
Even in the crowning moment of his own achievements, Teasley said it was his mom he was thinking of most. That didn’t come as a surprise to Riverside Military track and field coach Tim Cummings, who said Teasley was always one to put his teammates before himself.
“As good an athlete as he is, he’s an even better kid,” Cummings said. “I know you hear that all the time, but it’s actually true with him. He’s a great athlete, but he is a great, great kid. He’s not perfect, like the rest of us, but he was perfect for me to coach.”
As he transitions to the collegiate level, Teasley has many goals — both long-term and immediate.
He wants to get straight A’s in his first academic year at UNC Asheville, as well as lead the track and field team to victory at the Big South Conference meet. Further down the road, Teasley even has Olympic aspirations, as he hopes to run in the 2024 summer games.
No matter the goal, Cummings is certain Teasley has the drive to accomplish it.
“It was a privilege to coach a kid like that,” Cummings said. “He’s going to do great at the next level. I’m going to really, really miss him.”