category: Alumni

“Mr. C-N” found a home at Mossy Creek, a lifetime of friendships

Trayzel “Tray” Jureidini-Wyche

At Carson-Newman University, Trayzel “Tray” Jureidini-Wyche is known for a lot of things – being one dimensional is not one of them. A two-sport student-athlete, resident assistant (RA), student director of intramurals, and Eagle Production Company member are all roles he held while a C-N undergraduate – and those seem to only scratch the surface.

Since December, Tray added additional items to the list: alumnus, and Carson-Newman MBA student.

Building a reputation for being everywhere and involved in everything doesn’t just happen. Tray said it was a conscious decision to look for opportunities to meet people. It was a natural carryover from his high school years in Douglasville, Georgia, where he learned that involvement resulted in getting to know people.

“For me to connect with people other than athletes, I wanted to join the clubs around me and get involved in student activities,” explained Tray. “It just gave me another way to connect with students on campus, administration and staff.”

“I know every person’s name at Chick-fil-A (on campus). I know every person’s name in the cafeteria.” Tray says it’s been a running joke since his sophomore year on the number of connections he’s made. It even earned him the nickname “Mr. C-N,” a moniker he takes pride in.

Carson-Newman track and field coach David Needs says Tray is as genuine as they come and having him join him next spring as a graduate assistant was one of his easier decisions as coach.

“Tray is a supreme student-leader,” Needs said. “He is someone who completely bought into the Carson-Newman experience.”

It was an experience that almost didn’t happen.

A combination of certain college plans falling through, his high school principal, who happened to be a C-N graduate, and a Twitter DM from a C-N coach, all worked in concert to bring Tray to a place that he describes as “home.”

“I found teammates, coaches and staff who, no matter where you came from, welcomed you with open arms,” described Tray. “It was a family outlook.”

“He came in and really connected,” said Needs, who encouraged the incoming freshman to compete as an Eagle in both track and football. “I just kept hearing from other coaches ‘Tray’s a freshman, but he’s going to be really good.’”

It wasn’t just his athleticism that caught people’s attention, but the way he valued others.

“Throughout the time he was here [as an undergraduate], he found ways to connect with the Carson-Newman community. He truly invests in people around him,” commended Needs. “There are certain people who have that innate gift to make people they are spending time with feel really important and special. Tray is one of those people. He’s never too busy to be there for somebody.”

Though he may be described as a people-person, when it was time to compete – Tray was all business. By the time he completed his senior year, he had set a C-N record in discus with a 53.09 toss, was named Second Team All-American (a first for a thrower in C-N history), and named 2021’s SAC Outdoor Champion (discus) and Bronze Medalist (javelin). He was named All-Region in the discus for the third straight season and All-Region in javelin his senior year. In June he was named All-Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Tray made his presence felt on the football field as well. In C-N record books, Tray is third in all-time tackles for loss and sacks in a single game. His eight sacks in 2019 is the 12th highest single-game total in Division II. And if that wasn’t enough, he was named National Player of the Week during the 2019 season.

But Tray takes it all in stride. “I really enjoyed being a two-sport athlete. “It’s been a blessing for me to come to Carson-Newman.” I found a place that showed me how much God loves me, but also showed me how people have love for each other. Carson-Newman brought me friends and family that I’ll have and cherish forever.”

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