FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas track and field will host the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the newly redesigned John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas, it was announced Thursday by the chair of the Division I Track and Field Committee, DeTrease Harrison of Virginia Commonwealth University.
“I think it will be great for the University of Arkansas to host the NCAA Outdoor Championships,” head coach John McDonnell said. “We will never host indoor and outdoor during the same season, so it will be great for our fans to see an outdoor championship. They have seen plenty of indoor championships so this will be great for them. It’s great for Arkansas, the state and the fans.”
Home to the most successful program in NCAA history, John McDonnell Field has been transformed into one of the top outdoor track and field facilities in the nation. Named for legendary head coach John McDonnell, the winner of 42 NCAA national championships, the facility is one of only two IAAF Class 1 certified track and field complexes in the U.S. and the first such facility on a collegiate campus.
The state-of-the-art competition areas include a nine-lane track, a grass infield as well as a full hammer cage and multiple throw areas. The pole vault and jumping pits are reversible and contain two sets of runways to accommodate multiple events.
“The redesign of John McDonnell Field greatly helped Arkansas’ chances of hosting the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships,” Harrison said. “It’s a beautiful, fast track with a world-class IAAF rating and a lot of people are anxious to run on it. We knew Arkansas could host a great outdoor championship because they do such a great job with the indoor championships.”
The new John McDonnell Field played host to the 2006 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 11-14, 2006. The SEC meetwas the first in what promises to be a long line of prominent events slated for the new facility. UA is also slated to host the 2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships.
Also on the Hogs hosting schedule, announced by the NCAA on Thursday, will be the 2008 and 2010 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Though Arkansas was not awarded the 2009 Indoor Championships, with the hosting of the 2009 Outdoor Championships, Arkansas will be hosting an NCAA Championship event through 2010, an 11-year stretch.
Arkansas and the Randal Tyson Track Center have been the host of the indoor championship since the 2000 indoor track season and is scheduled to host its eighth consecutive indoor meet, March 9 & 10, 2007. Only Detroit, Mich., (17) and Indianapolis, Ind., (11) have hosted more NCAA Indoor Track Championships than Fayetteville.
Drake University will be hosting the 2008 outdoor championships, Texas A&M will be hosting the 2009 indoor championships and the University of Oregon will host the 2010 outdoor championships.