Wednesday January 25, 2012Paul Spangler Joins Florida Track & Field Program as Distance Track and Cross Country Coach
Paul Spangler, a former Alabama cross country NCAA qualifier and All-Southeastern Conference selection, has returned to the SEC and will join the Gator coaching staff as an assistant coach for distance and cross country, University of Florida track and field head coach Mike Holloway announced today.
Spangler, a 10-year assistant track and head cross country coach at The Virginia Military Institute, will oversee the development and performance of UFís distance student-athletes throughout the track and field indoor and outdoor seasons, while coaching the Gator menís and womenís cross country squads through the fall season.
ďIím really looking forward to this outstanding opportunity to get back to the SEC and contribute as a coach at the University of Florida,Ē Spangler said. ďIím excited to be in a position where I can work with the Gator student-athletes one-on-one to help them reach their full potential and work towards a common goal of bringing another national championship back to Gainesville.Ē
Spangler, the 2009 Big South Womenís Cross Country Coach of the Year, tutored 70 All-Big South performers on the track throughout his tenure at VMI. A total of 15 Keydet student-athletes were Big South Champions, while Donnie Cowart (2009), Hannah Granger (2009) and Felix Kitur (2011) were additionally crowned Big South Athletes of the Year under Spanglerís tutelage.
ďI am very, very excited to hire a coach of Paulís caliber to help lead our distance runners,Ē Holloway said. ďAs we continue to pursue our goal of becoming the best track and field program in the country, the big thing for us about Paul is that he has a proven track record of pushing his athletes to consistently become better and perform at a championship level. His familiarity with the SEC and the state of Florida will also be very beneficial for us. We are pleased to have Paul join our staff and we look forward to him helping elevate our distance program to the next level.Ē
Not only a SEC and Alabama alum, Spangler is no stranger to the Sunshine State having spent several years at Florida State University, prior to his stint at VMI, where he received a masterís degree in Sports Administration while coaching the FSU cross country and track teams. During his time at Florida State, he helped develop 13 NCAA All-South Region performers, had three NCAA individual cross country qualifiers, ten All-ACC track and field athletes and two athletes qualify for the World Junior Track and Field Championships. Spangler also coached a pair of distance All-Americans.
Most recently at VMI, Spangler produced two team conference runner-up squads, including the 2009 women's team, a performance that marked that squad's best finish ever. The men's team saw its first two regional rankings under Spanglerís leadership (2005, 2009), while the Keydet women won three straight Big South Freshman of the Year honors, a run continued by Emily Dinning in 2011.
On the track, Spangler helped lead four distance athletes to the NCAA Championships, as Cowart accomplished the feat in 2009, earning All-America honors in the steeplechase, while Kitur did so three times, the most recent in 2011. Cowart went on to qualify for two USATF Championships, and competed in the Pan American Games, finishing a staggering fourth place. This past track season, Kitur again advanced to NCAAs, while freshman Cabell Willis qualified for the USATF Junior National Championships.
most notably, was the job Spangler's pupils did at the IC4A Indoor
Championships, particularly in the 4X800-meter relay. There, the squad of Jacob
Lysher, Dean Gonsalves, Kitur and Dmitriev combined for a 7:24.70, to not only
win the IC4A title, but claim the top time in the world during the indoor
season. Spangler was a part of five runner-up efforts at the Big South
Conference Championships, with four coming indoor and one (2009) occurring
Throughout his tenure in Lexington, Va., the track and cross country teams shattered 21 distance records combined, while Spanglerís athletes earned five Big South Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards. He coached four NCAA Regional qualifiers, the women's cross country program's first conference runner and Freshman of the Year selection (both in 2009) and even a Rhodes Scholarship recipient. The women's cross country team was additionally honored with USTFCCCA All-Academic honors in 2010 and 2011.
Spangler is a 1998 graduate of the University of Alabama with a BS in Education. He was a 1996 and 1997 NCAA qualifier in cross country and was an All-SEC selection his senior year at Alabama. He later earned his masterís degree from FSU in Sports Administration, while working with the Seminole squads.
Spangler and his wife Cynthia were married in 2002 and are parents to a son, Preston.