MC alumnus makes name for himself as a military fitness trainer

MC alumnus makes name for himself as a military fitness trainer

April 10, 2015

“There is only one way. The Hathaway,” proclaims the home screen of DeJuan Hathaway’s website.

Hathaway graduated from Maryville College in 2005 with a degree in physical education, and despite multiple challenges he faced along the way, he has built a successful career as a fitness trainer. Hathaway has now been working as a military strength and conditioning trainer for around five years. He has worked with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the United States Special Operational Forces. In August of 2014, Hathaway authored his first book.

On March 27, Hathaway returned to Maryville College to share his story, and Cooper Athletic Center’s Orange Room was filled with students eager to hear about his success.

Hathaway began with some words of encouragement for those in attendance.

“No matter what opposition you encounter, continue to press forward,” Hathaway said.

While telling his story, Hathaway acknowledged that his accomplishments did not come without their challenges. Graduating from Maryville College was not entirely smooth sailing for Hathaway. He struggled with school, admitting that he failed anatomy twice and was placed on academic probation. As a student athlete, he faced additional trials outside of the classroom. After a successful time as an MC football player, Hathaway was met with disappointment when a fellow team member beat him out of his starting position. However, he maintained his drive to succeed despite the obstacles he faced.

“It would have been very easy for DeJuan to give up because he wasn’t doing well in school and football was not going the way he wanted, but he didn’t,” said Danny Pierce, associate professor of physical education, health and recreation – and Hathaway’s former advisor and mentor at Maryville College.

Hathaway was always interested in strength and conditioning training, so he sought practical experience while still in college. He volunteered with the University of Tennessee’s strength and conditioning program in his free time and spent a summer as an intern with the University of Nebraska’s strength and conditioning program.

After graduation, Hathaway’s hard work and previous experience paid off. He was offered a full scholarship to the University of Hawaii – Manoa as a graduate assistant for the school’s strength and conditioning program. Hathaway knew he would need to act fast if he wanted to seize the opportunity. His decision was made within weeks of receiving the offer. With $75 dollars to his name, Hathaway said goodbye to his familiar home and departed for Hawaii.

“It’s not always going to be comfortable,” Hathaway said about his decision to move.

His decision to embrace change paid off, and his time spent in Hawaii became a pivotal point in his career. While there, he discovered a talent for martial arts. He quickly adopted the fight name “DTrain” and went on to become a successful mixed martial artist. Today, he remains undefeated.

During his time in graduate school, he also discovered a passion for military fitness after visiting a training facility. At the time, military training careers were relatively new, and Hathaway welcomed the idea of becoming an innovator in an up-and-coming field. In 2009, he graduated with a master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Hawaii and went on to pursue a career as a strength and conditioning specialist.

In 2009, he became a fitness instructor for the United States Navy and Marine Corps at Kaneohe Marine Base in Hawaii. During his tenure, he received a Civilian Appreciation Award for his impact on overall solider fitness. He also presented his fitness program to Navy and Marine personnel at the 2010 RIMPAC (The Rim of the Pacific Exercise), which is the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise.

Hathaway faced unexpected obstacles during his time in Hawaii; however, he said he maintained motivation both spiritually and emotionally through his faith and weekly conversations with his mom. To this day, these are still the factors that motivate him, and despite his mother’s passing Hathaway said that the life lessons she taught remain with him.

Hathaway’s motivational words make clear his intense determination. According to him, impatience must be conquered before one can achieve success.

“Patience is one of the hardest things to overcome. We are impatient people, but it is important to remain patient through failure,” Hathaway said.

Hathaway has also served as a strength and conditioning specialist at Ft. Benning, Ga. During his tenure, he received awards such as Commanding General's Award of Excellence, Commander's Award for Public Service and Support Cadre of the Cycle on two occasions for his extraordinary work improving the physical attributes of military personnel. He recently served as a strength and conditioning specialist for the United States Special Operational Forces in Ft. Bragg, N.C. To date, he has assisted more than 30,000 soldiers in the area of fitness and combatives throughout the course of his career.

In addition to his career with the military, Hathaway recently published a book. The idea for the book, Special Forces Fitness Training, came while training a group of soldiers for special force selection. Hathaway created around 300 exercises utilizing military equipment for periods when soldiers were unable to make it into the weight room.

Hathaway has also had the opportunity to return as a guest speaker to several places close to his heart including his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Maryville College.

“It is really good to come back and share my story with college students who are in the same position I was in,” Hathaway said. “It feels great to tell them the struggles they are going through are the same ones I’ve gone through and that there is light and hope at the end of the tunnel.”

Currently, Hathaway is working on a new book and is also considering creating a DVD.

By Evy Linkous ’16, Communications Assistant


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.