Bill Webb spent nearly 40 years in the collegiate track & field coaching ranks with 25 of those years as a head coach. After stints at West Georgia and Cal State Northridge, Webb would spend 24 years at Tennessee. Upon retiring after the 2009 season, Webb had spent 14 years at the helm of the men’s track & field team for the Vols.
Webb’s seasons as Tennessee’s head coach produced many of the program’s proudest moments, including two NCAA and four SEC team championships. He became the first coach in Vol history to win back-to-back NCAA titles after following up the 2001 NCAA outdoor crown with the 2002 NCAA indoor championship.
Tennessee athletes under Webb’s direction marched among the national elite. In his 14 seasons as head coach, 18 UT athletes were crowned national champions in individual events, and 137 earned USTFCCCA All-America honors. As a nationally-renowned field event and multi-event instructor, Webb personally instructed 13 NCAA champions, 57 SEC champions and 82 NCAA Division I All-Americans.
Tennessee earned ten dual meet championships under Webb, including eight in 11 years from 1996-2006. Webb’s dual-meet record, compiled in non-championship scored meets of eight teams or fewer, was 52-1 (.981).
Webb set the tone for his head coaching career early as his charges took the 1996 SEC indoor title in his inaugural conference championship as head man for the Vols. Webb went on to assemble some of the deepest and most talented squads in program history to capture SEC outdoor crowns in 2001, 2002 and 2007.
On the international stage, Tennessee’s pipeline to the Olympics and world championships has never flowed stronger than during the Webb era. Webb coached 36 Olympic Trials competitors since 1984. He personally instructed athletes at four Olympic Games and seven world championship meets.
Webb became the first person to coach an NCAA and world champion decathlete in the same year, as Stephen Harris and Tom Pappas accomplished the feat in 2003. Pappas, under Webb’s direction, set the NCAA decathlon record at 8,463 and went on to post a top career score of 8,784, which ranks third on the all-time U.S. list. He coached 27 other athletes to scores of 7,250 or higher and five decathletes past the 8,000-point mark.
Webb also coached Tom Petranoff to a javelin world record and Bob Roggy to an American record.
Webb earned nods from the U.S. Olympic Committee as its National Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2003 after being selected from a pool of top collegiate and professional coaches across the country. He was named USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year for the national championship seasons of 2001 outdoors and 2002 indoors. Webb also garnered SEC Coach of the Year three times (1996 indoor, 2001 outdoor and 2007 outdoor).
Webb had ample opportunity to build an international coaching resume as he was chosen by USA Track and Field to serve as head coach for the U.S. decathletes in a 2001 dual meet versus Germany. He also served as an assistant coach at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba and the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
Prior to taking the reins of the Tennessee program in the summer of 1995, Webb served ten accomplished years as assistant head coach for the Vols. He tutored athletes in that span that contributed to four team conference championships and the 1991 national crown.
Before joining the Tennessee coaching staff, Webb coached at Florida, Southern Illinois and Indiana, which collectively captured nine conference titles during his tenure. Webb began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Indiana in 1971 before moving on to take the head coaching position in 1973 at West Georgia, where he was named the league’s coach of the year in each of his two seasons there. He had assistant coaching stops at Florida (1975-76) and Southern Illinois (1976-78) before beginning a seven-year stint as head coach at Cal State Northridge in 1979. Webb was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s Coach of the Year in 1985, and his teams finished in the top eight every year in the NCAA Division II meet.
He produced a total of 51 Division II All-Americans while at Cal State Northridge and West Georgia College.
Webb is married to the former Patricia Hill. They have a son, Kevin, who recently received his doctoral degree from the University of California-San Diego.