Olympic committee cites Webb

Tennessee head coach Bill Webb has been honored as the National Track and Field Coach of the Year for 2003 by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Webb was selected from a national pool of the top U.S. collegiate and professional coaches from all levels.

''It's quite an honor to be selected for this prestigious award," Webb said. ''It doesn't hurt when your athletes perform well on the national and international stage. Last year was particularly special, with Stephen Harris winning the NCAA decathlon and Tom Pappas winning the world indoor heptathlon and world outdoor decathlon titles. However, you hope that what you've done over the years helps contribute to this award. I'm proud of my athletes from the past, too. I remember coaching guys like former world record holder Tom Petranoff, former American record holder Bob Roggy, Olympic decathlete Aric Long, NCAA champion and World Championships qualifier Brian Brophy, Olympic pole vaulter Lawrence Johnson and U.S. and Goodwill Games champion Tim Mack.''

The governing body of each Olympic/Pan American sport, USA Track and Field in this case, could recognize three coaches -- a National, Developmental and Volunteer Coach of the Year. The goals of the USOC's Coach Recognition program are to elevate the status of coaching as a profession and to recognize the best coaches in the United States. After reviewing the national, developmental and volunteer winners for each sport, a panel will select five finalists across all sports to vie for a single USOC Coach of the Year Award in each of the three categories. The list should be whittled down to five finalists in the next two weeks.

Webb's 2003 mentoring effort broke new ground for decathlon coaches at the NCAA and World Championships. Thanks to Webb product Harris' 2003 NCAA decathlon title another glowing streak continued, as a Volunteer has won an individual national title in every meet since the 2001 NCAA Outdoors. Meanwhile, Pappas, also coached by Webb, won the 2003 indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon world championships, making Webb the only coach ever to coach an NCAA and World Championships decathlon winner in the same year.

Pappas' pre-Olympic year also included a No. 1 world decathlon ranking to close 2003. Meanwhile, Pappas won the Jesse O wens Award, the highest honor in American track and field, and the Jim Thorpe Award for outstanding U.S. field event competitor in 2003.

''This award belongs to a number of other coaches who make my job easier - guys like George Watts (assistant head coach-distance), Vince Anderson (assistant coach-sprints/hurdles) and Jim Bemiller (volunteer coach-pole vault), and Brian Brophy and Jim Reardon, who assist with Pappas,'' Webb said. ''This award is also important to me because of all the other coaches who've played an important part in my life: Bob Davidson, my college coach at High Point University; Sam Bell at Indiana when I was in grad school, Lou Hartzog at Southern Illinois and Jimmy Carnes at Florida. It also belongs to our current athletes and all of those who have come before. I'd like to also thank the administration here at the University of Tennessee for providing an atmosphere and facility to allow our athletes to maximize their potential.''

In fact, Webb joins Anderson as the recipient of a national coaching award in 2003. Anderson, the sprinting sage of the Smokies, was earlier awarded the inaugural National Assistant Coach of the Year award for men's sprints and hurdles in 2003 by the U.S. Track Coaches Association.

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