EUGENE, Ore. -- Veteran assistants Robert Johnson and Andy Powell have been promoted to associate head coaches for the Oregon track and field programs, Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna announced Wednesday. Effective immediately, Johnson assumes the role of associate head coach of women’s track and field and Powell becomes associate head coach of men’s track and field/men’s and women’s cross country.
"Since their arrival on the University of Oregon campus, Robert and Andy have played pivotal roles in the success of our program," said Lananna. "With their promotion, I’m confident that both our men’s and women’s teams will have the day-to-day guidance necessary to remain among the NCAA’s best. They are outstanding coaches with a keen understanding of what makes the University of Oregon and Track Town, USA special. They have been outstanding facilitators of the U of O vision and I enthusiastically look forward to working with them in these enhanced roles."
In their new roles, Johnson and Powell will be responsible for managing the daily operation of the women’s and men’s track and field teams, respectively. They are charged with developing and managing the plans necessary for achieving the program’s athletic success, including oversight of the teams’ athletic preparation and competition strategies, the recruitment of high-caliber student-athletes, and administrative tasks that support the program’s athletic goals.
"I feel extremely honored and blessed that Vin has chosen to promote me to this position," said Johnson. "With the help from a great staff, the program has come a long way and we want to continue to make the University of Oregon relevant in the sport of track and field."
Recognized by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as both the 2010 National Indoor Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year and the 2009 National Outdoor Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year, Johnson is in his fifth year at Oregon and concentrates his coaching on sprints, hurdles, relays, long jump, and triple jump. At the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, athletes under Johnson’s guidance contributed 23 team points to the Ducks’ first-ever capture of the NCAA women’s team title.
Led by Pac-10 champions and All-Americans Keshia Baker and Jamesha Youngblood, the women’s team broke 12 indoor and outdoor school records in 2009 in the sprints, relays and vertical jumps and captured three Pac-10 individual titles along the way. The 2009 season saw the Ducks win the Pac-10 championship and finish as NCAA runners-up. School records have continued to fall in 2010 with indoor marks at 60, 200 and 400 meters broken, as well as the school’s 4x400 and distance medley relays and the long jump records. Outdoors in 2010, the 4x100 relay record has already fallen again.
Johnson is a 1996 graduate of Appalachian State, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1996, and was a two-time triple jump All-American (1995, ’96), NCAA high jump qualifier (1996) and school high jump record holder (7-1 3/4). He capped his career as the 1996 Southern Conference triple jump and high jump champion, and was named the Southern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year after he piled up All-Southern Conference honors in the long jump, triple jump, high jump, 200 meters and 4x100 meter relay.
Working in concert with Lananna, Powell has helped guide Oregon to four of the last five Pac-10 titles in track and field and three of the league’s last four cross country crowns. The Ducks have also brought home three NCAA championships during Powell’s tenure, including back-to-back NCAA Men’s Cross Country titles in 2007 and 2008, as well as the 2009 NCAA Men’s Indoor Track and Field crown.
"I am honored to assume this new responsibility," said Powell. "Vin has articulated a bold vision for our program, and I’m confident that together with Robert Johnson and our talented staff we will continue to achieve greatness."
Powell will continue his coaching of the UO men’s distance programs.
Oregon’s distance and middle distance runners have won eight individual and relay NCAA titles combined in the last five years. The distance group, which included 2009 Boweman Award winner Galen Rupp, has produced 10 Pac-10 titles and 41 All-America awards the last five years. The Ducks feature the defending NCAA 800 meter outdoor champion in Andrew Wheating and have won back-to-back indoor distance medley relay crowns for the first time in school history.
As a Stanford athlete, Powell stood out as one of the nation’s top middle distance runners. He still ranks among the school’s all-time best in the 1,500 meters (3:40.65) and was a member of the Cardinal’s 2000 NCAA championship team. As a prep at Oliver Ames High School in North Easton, Mass., near Boston, he won U.S. junior titles as a senior in the 1,500 meters (3:49.81) and 5,000 meters (14:51.81).
His wife Maurica Powell is also a Duck assistant coach and was a decorated Stanford middle distance runner and All-American. The two have one son, Owen.
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