Senior Brown About To Be Coach Brown

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Most seniors have to worry about finding a job once they graduate college.

Arkansas pole vaulter P.J. Brown already has his next gig lined up.

Brown will return to his hometown high school in Poplar Bluff, Mo., this fall as the assistant football coach and head track coach.

He cleared 16-10.75 and finished 10th. Brown had a miss at lower height that cost him a chance for a tie for eighth place.

Brown has an undergraduate degree in kinesiology and a master's in education, but his credentials as a member of John McDonnell's 40-time NCAA champion program were just as important to landing the job.

"It helped tremendously," he said. "My experience here paid off so much. When I was interviewing, the only person I knew was the athletic director. I talked about all my experiences and some of the coaching philosophies I've learned from coach (Dick) Booth and coach McDonnell.

"They were very impressed with what I had to offer."

Even though his father, Jim, was a head football coach at Poplar Bluff, P.J. wasn't interested in following in his footsteps when he first came to Arkansas.

An outdoors lover, Brown wanted to get into forestry or a similar field.

"But the more I took the classes, the more I realized I wanted to coach and teach and be around kids and make an influence like that," he said.

Brown's father is now the strength coach at Poplar Bluff, meaning his son may technically outrank him.

Brown, 23, laughed off that notion.

"I don't know about that," he said. "Even if I did, I probably couldn't say that. It will be fun because he's pretty hardcore in his ways. I can tell I'm going to follow in the same path."

Brown has been working on assembling his track staff and already has a field events coach lined up in another Poplar Bluff alum, Kenny Del Rolan.

Del Rolan was an All-American safety at Army and also threw the javelin.

Brown plans on implementing the disciplined approach he's learned from his father and at Arkansas, so Del Rolan's Army background is the perfect fit.

"He loves to win and coming from Army he has that discipline we need," Brown said.

Brown said the first coaching philosophy he'll install is the training regimen he's learned at Arkansas from Booth.

"What I've seen at a lot of high school programs is they show up, work on their event and leave," he said. "I want my athletes and my assistant coaches to be experts in training. There's going to be days we don't even go to the track. We work our butts off and never even touch a pole.

"I want to be real technically sound on training so when we get out there, it's like coach Booth says, ‘We're building a machine.'"

As far as motivating athletes, Brown said the best inspiration is having a winning program.

After several near-misses throughout his career, finally making the NCAA field in his last chance was the best ending Brown could have.

"Being even more a part of this great Razorback tradition is the greatest thing," he said.


Arkansas didn't get quite as many points as McDonnell hoped for in the 10,000 meters late Thursday night, but by no means did the Razorbacks fall well short of expectations.

Sophomore Peter Kosgei took third and junior Josphat Boit slipped to sixth in the final lap for nine total points. Senior Jason Sandfort was 12th and did not score.

Arizona Robert Cheseret, the defending champion in the 5,000, won in 28:20.11. Freshman Galen Rupp of Oregon was the runner-up in 28:23.75.

McDonnell had projected 12, but after Adam Perkins ran a five-second personal best in the 1,500 first round and all three Razorback entrants made the 200 finals, he wasn't upset considering both Kosgei (steeplechase) and Boit (5,000) ran preliminary rounds Wednesday.

Boit, who came into the race ranked second, was clearly disappointed by his performance (28:52.69).

"Not good, man," he said. "It was tough. I didn't get what I wanted."

McDonnell was especially happy Kosgei hung on to third after Georgetown's Rob Koborsi, who took out Boit a lap earlier, passed him on the backstretch of the final lap.

Kosgei burst right past Koborsi and took third in 28:39.29 to the Hoya's 28:42.05.

"I like that about him," McDonnell said. "I sure do. He really dug in and got him. I was worried. You don't know. I knew he had the speed to pass him back.

"What he did was really good. The moment the Georgetown guy passed him, he passed him back immediately and broke him. That's smart. That's smart running right there."


One of the most interested spectators of the first two rounds of the 100 meters on Wednesday was Arkansas senior Tyson Gay, who lost the chance to defend his NCAA title when he false started at the Mideast Regional on May 28.

The fastest time in the quarter or semifinals was 10.3 with clockings as slow as 10.49 making the finals.

Gay won the 100 last year in a school-record 10.06 and after he ran the world's fastest 200 this year in 19.93 seconds on Thursday night, he offered his opinion on the 100 field.

"Yeah," he said, then smiled. "I wasn't too impressed. At the same time, I hope the finals are faster."


It hasn't taken Pat Henry long to make an impact at Texas A&M.

Henry, the closest thing to McDonnell in the track world with 27 NCAA titles as the men's (5) and women's (22) head coach at LSU, left for College Station last summer and on Thursday he produced his first individual national champion for the Aggies.

Fabrice LaPierre won the long jump with a leap of 26 feet, 6.75 inches.

LaPierre was the first Aggie to win a national title since Tolga Koseoglu won the discus in 2001.

McDonnell doesn't expect it to be long before Texas A&M is contending for team titles as well.

"He'll get them going," McDonnell said. "He'll work their butts off."

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