Johnson, Harter, Powell, and Kyprianou Recognized as Division I Coaches of the Year
NEW ORLEANS – Robert Johnson led the Oregon men to their second straight indoor national title, while Lance Harter’s Arkansas women stopped Johnson’s women from winning their sixth straight. Both were voted the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field National Coach of the Year by their peers.
Johnson’s distance assistant Andy Powell had runners score seventy out of the Ducks’ seventy-four points. That’s right: Powell’s event group was better than every other track team in America, and now he’s being recognized as the men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
For the second straight year, Petros Kyprianou coached Georgia athletes to national titles in the high jump and pentathlon; for that and more, he’s the women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
Out of the four winners, Harter has waited the longest for his laurels. He’s been the USTFCCCA Coach of the Year before (indoors and outdoors in 2000), but this is the first time he’s received the honor on the heels of an NCAA Division I championship. In his twenty-four years at Arkansas, he’s coached four national runner-up cross country teams, and finally the Razorbacks have their first ever national team title. It’s the first-ever women’s national championship for Arkansas in any sport.
The Razorbacks did so in part thanks to a 3k win by Dominique Scott, a DMR win anchored by Scott, a 400 meter runner-up finish from Taylor Ellis-Watson, a 4×4 second-place anchored by Watson, and a pole vault win by Sandi Morris.
We said above that this is Harter’s first NCAA Division I championship. He did win fourteen NCAA Division II team titles in a span of just eleven years at Cal Poly.
Johnson took over as the Oregon head men’s and women’s track & field and cross country coach in summer 2012; in the three academic years since then, he’s averaged more than two National Coach of the Year awards per year. This is his seventh since the 2012 indoor season, and his second straight men’s indoor award.
Seventy of the seventy-four points that clinched the national title for Oregon’s men are coached by Assistant COY Andy Powell. Under his direction, Eric Jenkins won the 3000 and 5000, and Edward Cheserek won the mile and ran the 1600 meter leg of the winning distance medley.
The forty points those two men (plus the relay) scored would have been third in the NCAA; their distance teammates Johnny Gregorek, Daniel Winn, Will Geoghegan, and Parker Stinson added thirty more in the mile, 3k, and 5k to put the Ducks over the top. They’re the first team to ever win four distance events in a single NCAA meet.
Georgia’s women scored 37 points and finished third at nationals. Thirty-five of them came from athletes coached by women’s Assistant Coach of the Year Petros Kyprianou, who directs the multis, vertical jumps, and triple jump for the Bulldogs. The two biggest scorers were right where they left off a year ago: now two-time defending indoor national champions Kendell Williams in the pentathlon and Leontia Kallenou in the high jump. Williams broke her own NCAA record in Fayetteville.
Keturah Orji finished second in the triple jump; earlier this year, she broke the American indoor junior record in the event. Kyprianou’s athletes put up additional points in the pole vault, high jump, and pentathlon.