Randolph Named Director of Track and Field/Cross Country

Originally released May 7, 2009

MOUNT PLEASANT Central Michigan University Director of Athletics Dave Heeke announced the hiring of Willie Randolph as the new director of men’s and women’s track and field/cross country.

Randolph, a CMU graduate and former track and field student-athlete, will oversee the Chippewas’ men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs. A coaching staff of four full-time assistants and one graduate assistant will join Randolph, with the combined staff coaching both male and female student-athletes in cross country and track and field.

Randolph and each of his assistants will work with specific event areas.

“We are excited to bring Willie aboard to lead our men’s and women’s track and cross country programs in this new direction,” Heeke said. “As a Chippewa letterwinner, Willie brings a passion and enthusiasm for Central Michigan that will play a key role in maintaining the championship level of performance we have achieved over the past decade. I also feel his experience will be an important component in building a successful combined program.”

Randolph, who has three years of head coaching experience, comes to CMU from the University of Louisville. He worked directly with sprinters and hurdlers at Louisville and was part of a coaching staff that worked under the combined program model that will be employed at CMU.

“I feel blessed and honored to be able to return to my alma mater as the director of track and field and cross country,” Randolph said. “Although I know there are challenges that lie ahead, I am confident that my staff and I will take this program to the next level of excellence.”

Randolph has been part of a coaching staff that has experienced a significant amount of success at Louisville. Just last week, the Cardinals’ women’s team won its second straight Big East Conference Outdoor Championships title, while the men finished in second place, just one-half point behind champion Notre Dame. It marked the second straight runner-up finish for the Louisville men outdoors. The coaching staff was named Big East Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Louisville’s men’s squad captured the Big East outdoor title in 2007, while the women’s team finished runner-up. The coaching staff was named Big East Men’s Coaching Staff of the Year in 2007.

Randolph coached 10 All-Big East performers, six NCAA provisional qualifiers and eight NCAA Mideast Regional qualifiers while at Louisville. He worked primarily with the sprinters and hurdlers, a group that set 15 school records under his tutelage.

Off the track, Randolph worked closely with the school’s academic program and was instrumental in guiding the women’s track and field team to the all-academic team recognition it received from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in 2007. The Cardinals’ 3.41 team grade-point average ranked 17th nationally in 2007.

The USTFCCA named seven Cardinals to its all-academic team in 2008. Louisville also swept the Big East Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence awards for men’s and women’s track and field last season. The awards are given to one student-athlete in each conference sport based on academic credentials, athletic accolades or performances and volunteer service to the community.

Prior to his stop in Louisville, Randolph oversaw a combined program as the head men’s and women’s track and field coach and head cross country coach at the University of New Orleans. In three seasons at UNO, Randolph coached 10 NCAA regional qualifiers, 30 All-Sun Belt Conference performers, 10 Sun Belt Conference Track and Field champions, 15 Academic All-Sun Belt selections and an individual cross country Sun Belt champion. UNO broke 56 school records, including two Sun Belt Conference records, under his guidance.

Randolph served as an assistant coach for the cross country and men’s and women’s track and field teams at Vanderbilt University for two years before his stop in New Orleans. He also was the recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt. Randolph worked directly with two-time All-America heptathlete Josie Hahn, and the hurdlers and middle distance runners he coached broke 12 school records in his two seasons.

Randolph’s collegiate coaching career began at Belmont University in 1999. He spent four seasons with the Bruins and coached one NCAA national qualifier, one Junior National Championships qualifier and three Atlantic Sun Conference champions. Randolph also mentored 14 student-athletes who earned academic all-conference honors.

During his time at Belmont, Randolph also founded and coached the Nashville Elite Track Club. He was named USA Track and Field Club Coach of the Year after guiding his squad to a 2001 USA Track and Field Club national championship. Randolph helped coach Jeremy Taylor to a top-10 world ranking in the 200m in 2001, and another of hiss club athletes, Xavier James, advanced to the semifinals in the 100m at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Randolph is a USATF Level I and II certified coach in jumps, sprints and hurdles. He also is a USATF certified meet official.

Randolph, a native of Saginaw, Mich. and graduate of Carrollton High School, earned a bachelor of applied arts degree in organizational and public communications from CMU in 1998. He was a two-year letterman in the Chippewas’ track and field program as a hurdler.

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