Lananna to lead U.S. Olympic men’s track and field team

TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna has been named head coach of the U.S. men's track and field team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

EUGENE, Ore. – TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna has been named head coach of the U.S. men’s track and field team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, it was announced today by USA Track & Field.

One of the world’s foremost visionaries in the sport of track and field, Lananna’s appointment by the U.S. Olympic Committee comes at the pinnacle of a long and storied career that has seen unprecedented success as a coach, administrator, organizer and leader.

Lananna will be assisted by a talented array of coaches, including Curtis Frye (sprints/hurdles), Mario Sategna (throws), Cliff Rovelto (jumps/combined events) and Troy Engle (distances). The men’s head manager will be Tracy Sundlun.

Connie Price-Smith, a four-time Olympian and head coach at Southern Illinois University, will be head coach of the U.S. women’s Olympic track and field team. Her assistants will be Robyne Johnson (jumps/combined events), Rose Monday (distances), LaTanya Sheffield (sprints/hurdles) and Bonnie Edmonson (throws). Marsha Horan will serve as the head manager.

“I am both humbled and honored to serve as head coach of the men’s Olympic track and field team,” Lananna said. “It will be a pleasure to work with the athletes who comprise the world’s No. 1 team. This is a very accomplished staff of men and women and collectively, we will continue the tradition of great coaches who have preceded us in this important role.”

Lananna, a native of New York, has served on multiple coaching staffs for Team USA at the global level. He was head coach of the U.S. men’s track and field team at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, men’s distance coach at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece and U.S. distance coach at the 1999 IAAF World Championships in Seville, Spain.

Lananna, who also serves as Associate Athletic Director for Olympic Development at the University of Oregon, has been the driving force behind a TrackTown USA revival at historic Hayward Field ever since his arrival in Eugene in the summer of 2005.

Under his vision and guidance, TrackTown USA, Inc. – a private, non-profit organization committed to setting a standard of excellence in the sports of track and field and running – has emerged as the nation’s leader in hosting premier events.

Over the past decade, Lananna and the organizing committees that he established, have redefined the U.S. Olympic Trials experience for both fans and athletes, resulting in record turnouts in both 2008 and 2012, and a promise for further enhancements in 2016. He built the University of Oregon into one of the most dominant track and field programs in the country and helped usher in a new era of unparalleled broadcast coverage for the NCAA Outdoor Championships last June with a new competition format.

Lananna also welcomed the IAAF to this country by hosting the highly acclaimed 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships at Hayward Field last summer. As the local organizing committee, TrackTown USA will build on those international relationships over the next several years, beginning with the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland next March, and for the first time on U.S. soil, the 2021 IAAF World Championships.

Not content to simply host events, Lananna has worked tirelessly to grow the sport of track and field by creating a supportive environment for elite athletic performances, promoting community health and fitness initiatives, engaging youth with numerous learning and competitive opportunities, and establishing leading practices in hosting sustainable sporting events.

With an emphasis on inclusiveness and diversity, he has used his leadership skills to mobilize the entire TrackTown USA community by bringing together passionate and dedicated people who are motivated by new ideas and the chance to achieve ambitious goals.

His most recent enterprises involve the establishment of a summer circuit of track and field meets in the U.S. – the TrackTown Summer Series set to debut in 2016 – and the offering of free monthly community workshops at Hayward Field, open to all ages and abilities, to help first-time runners and walkers find a way to better overall fitness.

After two years as Director of Athletics at Oberlin College in Ohio, Lananna was hired as the University of Oregon’s Associate Athletic Director for Olympic Development and Director of Track and Field. Under his tutelage, for seven remarkable seasons (2005-12), the Ducks won six NCAA championships and 13 conference titles, continuing an incomparable record of success from previous coaching stops at Stanford (1992-2003) and Dartmouth (1980-92).

During his 35 years as a collegiate coach, Lananna led teams to 11 NCAA championships and 42 conference championships. More than 60 of his athletes earned individual NCAA titles and many of those set collegiate, American and world records. Lananna was named national, regional and conference coach of the year in cross country and track and field on multiple occasions throughout his tenures at Dartmouth, Stanford and Oregon and twice led Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Given all of those accomplishments, it was no surprise when Lananna was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012, an honor previously bestowed upon a quartet of legendary UO coaches – Bill Hayward, Bill Bowerman, Bill Dellinger and Tom Heinonen. Bowerman also served as the U.S. Olympic men’s track and field coach at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, and both Hayward and Dellinger were assistant coaches at the Olympic level.

Go to usatf.org for the official USA Track & Field press release.