UT track aide honored

Tennessee's Vince Anderson has been selected the inaugural Division I Men's Assistant Sprint/Hurdle Coach of the Year as selected by the U.S. Track Coaches Association. Anderson, a Tennessee men's assistant since 1996 and Lady Vol assistant from 1989-96, was one of four NCAA Division I men's assistants named best in his respective event coaching area.

The other men's recipients are assistants Mike Curcio of Appalachian State (distance), Wayne Pate of Indiana (jumps) and Don Babbitt of Georgia (throws). The four assistant coaches chosen for women's track were Dennis Shaver of LSU (sprints/hurdles), Michael Whittlesey of North Carolina (distance), Dennis Nobles of Florida State (jumps) and Larry Judge of Florida (throws).

''I'm really grateful to be at a place like Tennessee where you can win an award like this,'' Anderson said. ''Any coaching award is a reflection of the athletes' efforts who've been here. They won that award. I'm just really grateful to be part of that great group. I'd like to thank all the guys who earned this award.''

Anderson's success with Tennessee's sprint/hurdle and relay corps has been nothing short of amazing. With the exception of NCAA decathlon champions Tom Pappas and Stephen Harris, Anderson has coached every Tennessee NCAA champion since 1999. Four Vols under his direction have combined for 10 NCAA titles since 1999. His charges claimed nine SEC outdoor titles in five different events since 2001. Addtionally, Anderson's Vols have won seven SEC indoor titles in four events since 1997. The list of Vol SEC and NCAA champions coached by Anderson reads like an updated who's who of Tennessee track -- Justin Gatlin, Jabari Greer, Gary Kikaya, Leonard Scott and Dawane Wallace.

Even more important, the Tennessee sprint/hurdle and relay corps proved critical to returning Tennessee to NCAA titles in 2001 (outdoor) and 2002 (indoor) and SEC Outdoor Championships both of those years.

Perhaps, most impressive of all, Anderson's charges have broken 11 indoor and outdoor school records. Tennessee school records don't come cheap thanks to former Vol sprint greats like Darwin Bond, Willie Gault, Sam Graddy, Reggie Jones, Terry McDaniel and Terry Scott. On the indoor track, Anderson coached his pupils to record-breaking runs in the 60m dash, 200m dash, 400m dash, 60m hurdles and 4x400m relay. On the outdoor track, the sprint Vols broke six school standards as records in the 100m dash, 200m dash, 400m dash, 4x100m relay, 4x200m relay and 4x400m relay fell by the wayside during Andersonâs tenure.

''I'm quite proud of Vince Anderson getting the inaugural award for the nation's best assistant [sprint/hurdle] coach,'' head coach Bill Webb said. ''He's well-deserving. He's done an outstanding job for the past few years on a consistent basis, evidenced by his NCAA champions and high finishes by his sprint, hurdle and relay guys. For instance, last year's 4x100m relay ran the fastest time in school history. This year's [4x100m] team ran the second-fastest time in school history despite having just one returner from the school-record team. He always revamps and reloads and gets the most out of his athletes. He's been an outstanding coach for the University of Tennessee.''

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