Jump to content

Leroy Burrell named Auburn track and field head coach


Recommended Posts

Looks like a good hire with lots of experience welcome Coach Burrell.....

 

 

AUBURN, Ala.—Olympic gold medalist and longtime coach, Leroy Burrell, has been named Auburn track and field head coach, Athletics Director Allen Greene announced Thursday. Burrell has spent the previous 23 years as head coach at his alma mater, the University of Houston, where he led the program to 41 conference championships and coached over 150 All-Americans.
 
"When I looked at the history and tradition at Auburn along with the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the Southeastern Conference, the opportunity at this juncture of my career was too good to pass up," Burrell said. "I've had a wonderful run at Houston and had some struggles the past year. I felt my family and I needed another opportunity to win a national championship and compete at the highest level. I'm not sure I could have found a better opportunity and words can't describe how excited I am to join the Auburn Family and work with the people at Auburn."
 
A former world-record holder in the 100-meter dash and a former student-athlete at Houston, Burrell established himself as one of the nation's premier coaches. In over two decades of Burrell's leadership, Houston had over 155 NCAA All-Americans and a combined 41 team conference championships.
 
"The thing I found most attractive about Auburn once I had a chance to look deeper was the people," Burrell said. "Allen Greene and Brant Ust were unbelievable to talk with from the beginning and were extremely open and honest, and welcoming about Auburn. I want to thank Allen, Brant and President Chris Roberts for this opportunity."
 
He was named C-USA Coach of the Year 23 times and American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year 11 times. In recognition of his outstanding career as a world-class sprinter and collegiate coach, Burrell was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame in 2019.
 
Burrell replaces Ralph Spry, who retired after 25 years at the helm of the Auburn track and field program.
 
"I want to pay distinct tribute to Ralph Spry who has been a great friend and competitor over the years," Burrell said. "He led Auburn to a national championship and developed numerous outstanding athletes during his 25-year career. Mel Rosen was my coach at the 1992 Olympic games, so I understand the tradition and history of Auburn track and field. I will work incredibly hard to continue that tradition and build upon the foundation that Coach Rosen, Coach Spry and others before me have established."
 
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cougars were well on their way to being one of the best squads in the NCAA yet again. The Cougars swept The American Indoor Track & Field Championships for the second straight year as the men's team won its sixth consecutive ITF conference title and the women secured their second.
 
In 2019, Houston showed little signs of slowing down earning its second straight third-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships behind a trio of podium finish performances. The Cougars continued to have immense success during the 2017-18 season as the Cougars won their second straight NCAA title in the 4x100-meter relay. It would be a remarkable year for the Cougars as Burrell's son, Cameron, would become an individual national champion, claiming the title in the 100-meter with a time of 10.02 to become the program's first national champion in the event since his father earned the title in 1990. That very same year, Houston earned its first of back-to-back third-place finishes at the outdoor championships.
 
"Houston has been my home for 36 years. I came as a freshman in 1985 and it grew me into the person I am today. I wouldn't be who I am today without my teammates and training partner Carl Lewis as well as Coach Tom Tellez who groomed me into the coaching profession," Burrell said. "I can't thank enough the UH team, staff and Chris Pezman, DeJuena Chizer and Lauren DuBois for their support. Houston has been my home and will always be in me, but I'm flying out of the nest to soar with Auburn."
 
The 2017 season marked a banner year for Burrell after his 4x100-meter relay squad that claimed the NCAA Championship in the event. The team of John Lewis III, Mario Burke, Jacarias Martin and Cameron Burrell ran a school record 38.44 to claim the gold and win Houston's first relay title since 1982.
 
Burrell led the Cougar men to championships in each of the indoor and outdoor seasons, sweeping the titles for the second-consecutive season and the 10th time in program history. The championships gave Burrell 33 conference championships during his tenure at Houston.
 
"Coach Burrell's accomplishments as an Olympic gold-medalist and his track record of consistent, championship-level success through recruiting and developing elite student-athletes speak for themselves," Greene said. "A confident, humble leader, Coach Burrell believes in work, hard work. He will continue the long history of exemplary leadership of Auburn's track and field program and will be an outstanding representative of the Auburn Family."
 
During the 2015-16 season, Burrell led the Cougar men to a sweep of the indoor and outdoor American Athletic Conference Championships, marking the seventh time he has accomplished that feat. The men would go on to finish 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the highest finish since 1985.
 
Burrell claimed Houston's first American Athletic Conference Indoor Championship in 2015 after leading the 2014 Cougar men's track and field team to the inaugural American Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship. The 2014 Cougars finished with 15 conference champions in individual events.
 
Burrell tutored Errol Nolan to a 2013 NCAA Indoor Championship in the 400-meter dash. Nolan was the C-USA Track Athlete of the Year for the indoor season. Burrell also had 13 individuals win conference championships while the men's team took home the 2013 C-USA Indoor Conference Championship and placed second at the last C-USA outdoor meet for Houston.
 
In his first season, he coached the C-USA Indoor and Outdoor Athletes of the Year, Anthony Authorlee and Dennis Darling. Authorlee was named the 1999 C-USA Outdoor Athlete of the Year after winning the 100m and 200m dashes. His victory marked the first 100m conference championship since 1993. Darling was named the 1999 C-USA Indoor Athlete of the Year after winning the 200m and 400m. He also ran the anchor leg on Houston's victorious 4x400m relay. Houston also enjoyed success on the national frontier that season, when the women's team ended the 1999 campaign with a 20th place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championship.
 
In 2000, Burrell guided Houston to the C-USA Men's Indoor and Outdoor Championships for a second straight year. He coached the C-USA Freshman of the Year, Robert Foster, who won the 200m dash at the C-USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Burrell led the women's team to its first conference championship and was named the C-USA Women's Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2000. Houston won the C-USA women's outdoor title after finishing as the runner-up team at the C-USA Indoor meet.
 
Later that year, the women's team finished in eighth place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Jenny Adams won the NCAA long jump title and finished as the runner-up in the 100m. Ifoma Jones had a fourth-place finish in the heptathlon and finished seventh in the high jump. Rhian Clarke also had a seventh-place finish in the pole vault.
 
In 2001, the women's team finished in seventh place at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Adams was named the long jump champion as she became Houston's first two-time NCAA champion since 1989. The seventh-place finish was Houston's best showing since the 1993 indoor championships and the eighth-place finish at the 2000 outdoor meet equaled Houston's best NCAA outdoor showing in school history.
 
Burrell first gained track and field's national spotlight when he earned All-America honors as a senior at Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne, Pa. in 1985. He was named the Eastern Track Athlete of the Year after single-handedly winning the 1985 Class 3A State Championship. Burrell scored all of Penn Wood's 40 points when he won the 100m, 200m, long jump and triple jump at the state meet.
 
In 1985-86, he broke Houston's freshman long jump record, previously held by Carl Lewis, when he leaped 26'-9" at a dual meet against UCLA in 1986.
 
"Auburn track and field is getting a someone who knows how to build programs and does extremely well recruiting," Carl Lewis said. "Leroy knows how to run a team, is extremely organized and can coach, especially the sprints. He works very well with people and whoever his staff is going to be, they're going to enjoy working with him, because he's that kind of guy. People at Auburn are going to love Leroy and his family."
 
In 1988, he returned following an ACL injury to the SWC Championships, where he finished second in the 100m and in third place in the long jump. At the NCAA Championships, Burrell earned All-America honors with a fifth-place finish in the 100m and a seventh place showing in the long jump.
 
The next year, he won the NCAA Indoor Championship in the long jump with a leap of 26'-5.50". At the 1989 NCAA Outdoor meet, he set the meet record with a personal best jump of 27'-5.50". But, Ohio State's Joe Greene recorded a wind-aided mark of 27' 7.25" to win the event, and left Burrell with a record-setting second-place finish.
 
Two weeks later, Burrell rebounded at the USA Outdoor Championships at Houston's Robertson Stadium. He won the 100m in 9.94 seconds, which was the fastest time ever recorded by a collegian. He also teamed with Carl Lewis, Danny Everett and current UH assistant coach Floyd Heard to set a world record in the 4x200m relay with a time of 1:19.38.
 
As a senior in 1990, Burrell won the NCAA Indoor long jump title for the second straight year with a leap of 27 feet. At the SWC Outdoor Championships, Burrell ran one of the best sprint doubles ever recorded. He ran the fastest 200m ever run under any conditions with a wind-aided time of 19.61 and ran a wind-aided 9.94 time in the 100m to easily win both races.
 
He also won the 100m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Durham, N.C., when he posted a wind-aided time of 9.94 seconds and set a meet record in the semifinals with a time of 10.03 seconds. His outstanding season resulted in Burrell receiving the "Jumbo Elliott Award" as the nation's top collegiate track and field athlete.
 
After completing his collegiate eligibility, Burrell beat Carl Lewis for the first time on July 23, 1990, when he won the 100m in 10.05 seconds at the Goodwill Games in Seattle. He was ranked as the world's top sprinter in 1990 and 1991 after winning 19 of his 22 races in the 100m.
 
Burrell set his first individual 100m world record on June 14, 1991, at the USA Championships in New York City. With a time of 9.90 seconds in the 100m, he edged Lewis, who finished second with a time of 9.92. Later that year at the World Championships in Tokyo, Burrell bettered his time to 9.88; however, he was forced to settle for the silver medal as Lewis won the race in a record time of 9.86.
 
Burrell and Lewis joined forces in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, where they combined with Mike Marsh and Dennis Mitchell to win the gold medal and set a new world record with a time of 37.40 seconds. Burrell also had a fifth-place finish in the 100m at the Olympic Games.
 
"I helped recruit him to Houston and brought him to the Santa Monica Track Club where we were teammates and trained together," Lewis said. "He's like a little brother to me, we are like Batman and Robin. We've known each other for a very long time as teammates, friends and coaches and I'm excited for him and this new opportunity at Auburn."
 
In 1993, Burrell ran the anchor leg for the USA 4x100m relay team at the World Championships. The team won another gold medal and tied the world record.
 
Burrell was a member of the 1994 Santa Monica track team that set the world record in the 4x200m relay in 1:18.68. On July 6, 1994, Burrell reclaimed the title as the "World's Fastest Human" when he reset his world record time in the 100m with a time of 9.85 seconds.
 
In 1996, he earned a spot on the USA Olympic Team, but was forced to withdraw because of an Achilles Tendon injury.
 
Two years later, he announced his retirement as the American record holder in the 100m and was selected to succeed his collegiate coach and USTCA Hall of Fame coach Tom Tellez.
 
A 1991 UH graduate with a degree in radio and television communications, Burrell was inducted into UH's Hall of Honor in 2000.
 
He is married to the former Michelle Finn, an Olympic sprinter. The couple has three children and their eldest son, Cameron, was a member of the Houston Track & Field team, while Josh Burrell was on the Houston football team.
 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites





He's definitely got the accolades of doing it personally.  Nice resume. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't know squat about track, but folks are saying this is about as good as we could probably do. 23 years at Houston and 41 conference titles. No clue if that will translate to the SEC or not, but welcome coach and war eagle

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The number of all American's he has coached speaks well for his recruiting ability.  Welcome to Auburn and War Eagle.  Sports like this is where the NIL can make or break a program. After being at Houston for so long I do hope he has the fire in his belly and can get Auburn back to where we were under coach Rosen.

Edited by AuburnNTexas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

on paper, looks like a great hire....sure has the accolades and experience.  wonder if his sons will follow or stay @ UH.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@TigerPAC. His son died this past year, very sad. A reason why he left the coogs, wanted a clean slate didn’t want to be reminded of his son all the time at Houston. Y’all have a damn good coach.

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TreyM said:

@TigerPAC. His son died this past year, very sad. A reason why he left the coogs, wanted a clean slate didn’t want to be reminded of his son all the time at Houston. Y’all have a damn good coach.

That just sucks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...