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Paul Spangler
Paul Spangler

Assistant Coach – Cross Country and Distance

  • Assistant Coach, Men’s and Women’s Track & Field – Distance (Fifth season)
  • Assistant Coach, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country (Fourth season)

  • 3-time NCAA Division I National Champion – Track & Field
  • 4-time SEC Champion – Track & Field
  • 2012 SEC Women’s Cross Country Champion

Florida assistant coach Paul Spangler, the 2012 SEC Cross Country Women’s Coach of the Year, enters his fourth season coaching the men’s and women’s cross country programs, as well as his fifth campaign overseeing the men’s and women’s track and field distance runners.

Track & Field

Since his arrival in Gainesville, back in January 2012, Spangler has coached the Gators to 34 USTFCCCA All-America plaudits—17 men’s and 17 women’s laurels—in track’s distance events (800 meters, 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, 3,000-meter steeplechase, indoor mile, distance medley relay).

Those honorees are headlined by six-time All-American and 2014 SEC Indoor Co-Women’s Runner of the Year Cory McGee and six-time All-American Agata Strausa. UF’s other individual award winners under Spangler are:

  • 2014 USTFCCCA South Region Indoor Women’s Track Athlete of the Year – Cory McGee
  • 2012 USTFCCCA South Region Outdoor Women’s Track Athlete of the Year – Genevieve LaCaze
  • 2012 SEC Co-Women’s Outdoor Runner of the Year – Genevieve LaCaze
  • 2013 SEC Men’s Outdoor Freshman Runner of the Year – Jimmy Clark
  • 2014 SEC Women’s Indoor Freshman Runner of the Year – Becky Greene

Within the SEC, Florida’s distance runners have been as competitive and successful as almost any other program in the conference. One of the top highlights of Spangler’s time with the Gators came at the 2012 SEC Outdoor Championships, where Genevieve LaCaze became the first athlete in conference history to win the 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and 3,000-meter steeplechase in one league championship meet.

Here are some of the other impressive numbers the Gators have accrued during SEC competition under Spangler:

  • 13 men’s and women’s SEC Championships
  • Nine women’s SEC Championships – second-most among league programs since 2012
  • Consecutive SEC Indoor Champions in the distance medley relay (2013, 2014)

All of the aforementioned national and conference achievements have been vital to Florida’s team success over the last five years:

  • NCAA Men’s Division I Championships – i: 2012; o: 2012, 2013
  • SEC Men’s Championships – i: 2015; o: 2015
  • SEC Women’s Championships: i: 2012, 2014

 

Olympians, World Championship Qualifiers and Professionals Coached by Spangler

Three of Spangler pupils have gone on to sign professional contracts and compete on the biggest stages the world has to offer. Genevieve LaCaze, who competes internationally for Australia, would have been a two-time World Championships runner had it not been for an ankle injury she suffered in a IAAF Diamond League meet building up to the 2013 World Championships—which she had already qualified for.

  • Genevieve LaCaze, Australia (New Balance) – 2012 Olympics (3,000m Steeplechase)
    • 2015 IAAF World Championships (3,000m Steeplechase)
  • Cory McGee, United States (New Balance) – 2013 IAAF World Championships (1,500m)
  • Donnie Cowart, United States (Saucony) – 2015 Pan American Games (4th place, 3,000m Steeplechase)
    • 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials – 4th place (3,000m Steeplechase)

Other Top Performances Under Spangler

The Gators have broken five school records in Spangler’s four seasons with the program. There have not been any shortage of outstanding performances at the NCAA Championships under Spangler’s watch either, with UF runners combining for three runner-up finishes in distance events at those meets.

  • 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships runner up – Genevieve LaCaze (3,000m steeplechase)
  • 2013 and 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships runner up – Cory McGee (1,500m)
  • 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships third-place finisher – Agata Strausa (mile)
  • 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships fourth-place finisher – Sean Obinwa (800m)
  • 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships fourth-place finisher – Cory McGee (mile)
  • 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships fourth-place finisher – Distance Medley Relay
  • UF men’s indoor 5,000m record holder – Mark Parrish (13:41.87)
  • UF men’s 3,000m steeplechase record holder – Mark Parrish (8:37.64)
  • UF women’s outdoor 1,500m record holder – Cory McGee (4:06.67)
  • UF women’s 3,000m steeplechase record holder – Genevieve LaCaze (9:37.90)
  • UF distance medley relay record holders – Shelby Hayes, Ebony Eutsey, Cory McGee, Agata Strausa (10:58.77)

 

Cross Country

Under Spangler’s direction, UF cross country runners have earned:

  • 15 USTFCCCA All-South Region accolades
  • 13 All-SEC honors—including five first-team honorees
  • Three individual USTFCCCA All-Academic plaudits
  • Three USTFCCCA All-Academic Team laurels

In 2012, Spangler led the Gators to a victory at the SEC Women’s Cross Country Championships—UF’s sixth conference crown—becoming the first coach in school history to win a league title in his debut season. Later that year, the Gators made the 12th NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships appearance in UF history.

Former Gator Agata Strausa earned a USTFCCCA All-American laurel in 2013, recording the seventh-highest finish (33rd place) at the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships in program history. She was also just the second UF runner since 1997 to place inside the top 40 at the national championships.

On the men’s side, Mark Parrish has been the most successful Gator coached by Spangler, to this point. Parrish, the 2013 USTFCCCA South Region Male Athlete of the Year, broke the program’s 8K record with a time of 23:44.00 at the 2013 adidas Invite. That same season, he became the second UF runner in history to win the NCAA South Region Championship, going on to finish 49th at the NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championships.

The men enjoyed their best season under Spangler in 2013, when they took second place at the SEC Cross Country Championships and the NCAA South Regional Championship. The runner-up finish at the regional was good enough for the Gators to advance to their second NCAA Cross Country Championships since 2007.

Florida also took third at the men’s NCAA South Regional Championship in 2012.

Other Top Cross Country Performances Under Spangler

  • 2013 NCAA South Regional Championship runner up – Cory McGee
  • 2012 NCAA South Regional Championship fifth-place finisher – Florence Ngetich
  • 2012 SEC Championships runner up – Florence Ngetich
  • 2013 SEC Championships fifth-place finisher – Jimmy Clark
    • Fifth-fastest 8K time by a Gator an SEC Championship (23:57.03)
  • Second-fastest 5K in history of UF Golf Course – Lauren Brasure (16:45.93)
Athlete Improvement Under Spangler
Athlete Event Prior to Spangler Florida PR Notable
Felix Kitur (VMI) 800m 1:52 1:46.75 VMI Outdoor Record
Donnie Cowart (VMI) Mile 4:26
(1,600m)
3:58 VMI Indoor Record Holder
Cory McGee 1,500m 4:26 4:06 UF Outdoor Record
Taylor Tubbs 3,000m 10:20 9:28
Callie Cooper 3,000m 10:16 9:28
Florence Ngetich 5,000m 17:16 16:15 No. 2 on UF Indoor Top 10
Jimmy Clark 5,000m 14:55 13:58 No. 3 on UF Outdoor Top 10
Eddie Garcia 5,000m 15:16 14:14 2015 SEC Outdoor Champion (10,000m)
Mark Parrish 5,000m 15:15 13:41.87 UF Indoor Record
Mark Parrish Steeplechase 9:31 8:37 UF Outdoor Record
Genevieve LaCaze Steeplechase 9:59 9:37 UF Outdoor Record

Coaching History

Prior to joining the Gators, Spangler spent nearly a decade at the Virginia Military Institute and five years at Florida State University.

Coaching VMI, Spangler tutored a pair of USTFCCCA All-Americans—Donnie Cowart (3,000m steeplechase) and Felix Kitur (800m)—and helped the Keydets’ indoor 4x800-meter relay team post the world’s No. 1 time in 2011.

Spangler also coached a Big South Men’s Indoor Most Outstanding Track Performer, Big South Co-Men’s Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Big South Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year, three consecutive Big South Women’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year, and five Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year award winners. A total of 90 track and field and cross country athletes earned all-conference honors during his lengthy stint with the Keydets.

Moreover, Spangler’s mentees won 17 individual league titles, broke 21 school records, and helped the Keydets teams to a total of seven runner-up finishes at the Big South Cross Country Championships, Big South Indoor Championships, and Big South Outdoor Championships.

In addition to leading VMI to its first NCAA Regional ranking, Spangler was named the 2009 Big South Conference Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year following the club’s runner-up performance at the league championship meet.

At Florida State, Spangler mentored a pair of IAAF World Junior Championships qualifiers, two USTFCCCA All-Americans (both track athletes), 13 NCAA All-South Region runners, an Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Female Freshman of the Year and three All-ACC Cross Country performers.

Along with the three individuals Spangler led to NCAA Cross Country Championship berths, the Seminoles qualified for the 2001 NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships as a team.

With the help of Spangler’s distance coaching, Florida State won ACC Outdoor Championships in 2000 (women) and 2002 (men).

  • Florida – Assistant Coach, Men’s and Women’s Track & Field – Distance (2012-Present)
  • Florida – Assistant Coach, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country (2012-Present)
  • Virginia Military Institute – Assistant Coach, Men’s and Women’s Track & Field (2003-2011)
  • Virginia Military Institute – Head Coach, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country (2002-2011)
  • Florida State – Assistant Coach, Men’s and Women’s Track & Field (1999-2002)
  • Florida State – Assistant Coach, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country (1998-2001)

Note: Years indicated are seasons coached

Personal

Spangler, a native of Brooksville, Fla., graduated from the University of Alabama in 1998 with a Bachelor’s of Science in education. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in sports administration while coaching at Florida State.

At Alabama, Spangler began his cross country career as a walk-on before earning a scholarship, becoming a two-time NCAA Cross Country Championships qualifier (1996-97), as well as a 1997 All-NCAA South Region and All-SEC honoree for the Crimson Tide.

Spangler and his wife Cynthia were married in 2002 and are parents to a son, Preston.

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