Legendary track and field star and 10-time Olympic medalist (nine gold; one silver) Carl Lewis will join the Houston Cougar track and field coaching staff as a full-time member for the upcoming 2014-15 season, head coach Leroy Burrell announced Monday.
The Cougars also named Olympian and former NCAA champion Floyd Heard as its Director of Student-Athlete Development. Heard had previously served as an assistant coach working with hurdlers, sprinters and relays.
“As Director of Student-Athlete Development Floyd will oversee all of the athletes’ off-track training,” Burrell said. “He will also serve as a liaison for our Strength and Conditioning Program, Cougar Cafe Nutrition Department, Cougar Pride Leadership Academy and Our Academic Center for Excellence. I feel that having an experienced person overseeing those activities are critical to moving our program forward.”
Lewis, who served as a volunteer coach during the 2013-14 season and will coach the Cougar sprints and jumps, and joins a staff already loaded with Olympic glory. Burrell, a teammate of Lewis at Houston, and in the Olympics, was a gold medalist at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona in the 4x100 meter relay.
“I am very excited that Carl has committed to a full time assistant coaching position with the program,” Burrell said. “Carl will oversee training and recruiting the Men’s Sprints and Jumps with the goal of bringing the program to the international forefront. Carl brings a wealth of experience and international recognition to the program that I feel is second to none.”
Earlier this summer Houston announced the hiring of Bahamian track star Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie.
Ferguson-McKenzie was a specialist at the 100 and 200-meter sprints, represented the Bahamas in five Olympic Games - Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 - and was a three-time Olympic medalist and four-time medalist at world championships.
Lewis is known as one of the greatest athletes in the world winning 10 Olympic medals, nine of those gold, and 10 world championship medals. He still holds the school records for the indoor 55-meter dash (6.07) and both indoor and outdoor long jump records 8.56m (28’-1”) and 8.62m (28’-3.5”). A six-time All-American, Lewis won six national championships and nine individual conference championships during his two seasons at Houston.
Lewis joined the Houston track squad in 1979 under head coach Tom Tellez and the following year qualified for the United States 1980 Olympics team for long jump and 4x100 relay. In all, Lewis qualified for five United States Olympic teams and competed in four Olympiads (1984 Los Angeles, 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta) in his illustrious career.
Lewis owned the men’s 100-meter dash record in 1991, and held the honor until 1994 when Burrell broke the record. The duo also ran as teammates on the United States 4x100 relay team that broke the world record at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.