McDonnell Named National Outdoor Coach of the
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For an unprecedented 27th time in 32 years Arkansas head coach John McDonnell earned national coaching accolades when he was named the 2004 National Outdoor Coach of the Year by the United States Track Coaches Association (USTCA). McDonnell was awarded the honor after leading the Razorbacks to their 11th NCAA Outdoor Championship in Austin, Texas on June 12. It also marked Arkansas’ 39th national title overall, the most of any Division I track program.
“It always an honor when your peers vote for you,” McDonnell said. “It really is a great honor, because I think there are several other people who deserved it as well. I’m very grateful. A lot of the credit goes to my assistants and athletes who make it all possible. It’s a team effort.”
McDonnell guided his Hogs to victory with 65.5 points as they scored in all areas, from distance to sprints to middles distance to field events. It was an outstanding team showing as 12 All-America honors were earned in 10 events, three new school records were established and four athletes captured individual titles, including seniors Alistair Cragg (10,000 meters) and Chris Mulvaney (1,500 meters), junior Tyson Gay (100 meters) and freshman Wallace Spearmon, Jr. (200 meters). It was the most gold UA earned at the national outdoor meet since 1998.
In addition to Arkansas’ dominance on the national level, McDonnell took his team to the top at the regional and conference meets as well. At the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships the Razorbacks won their second-straight regional crown when they tallied 95 points. McDonnell was also named the regional coach of the year for his leadership and accomplishments at the meet in Baton Rouge, La.
At the Southeastern Conference Championships the Hogs brought home another trophy when they claimed UA’s 11th league outdoor title and its 20th outdoor conference crown in 23 years. None of the other SEC schools could stop the Razorbacks as they racked up 183 points in a very convincing victory. As icing on the cake one relay and six individual event championships were earned by UA athletes.
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