Paul Spangler, a former Alabama cross country NCAA qualifier and All-Southeastern Conference selection, enters his third season as an assistant coach for distance and cross country.
Spangler oversees the development and performance of UF’s distance student-athletes throughout the track and field indoor and outdoor seasons, while coaching the Gator men’s and women’s cross country squads through the fall season.
Spangler’s athletes turned in four SEC title performances in 2013, while also tallying seven All-America accolades. Junior Cory McGee was a part of two SEC indoor crowns, capturing the women’s mile title (4:35.33), the second of her career, while also running the anchor leg of the SEC Champion women’s DMR (11:13.45), joining Mandy Perkins, Amani Bryant and Agata Strausa in the victory. Strausa was the bronze medalist at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships in the women’s mile, racking up First Team All-America accolades.
McGee was runner-up for the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy indoors with her wins in the mile and DMR and runner-up finish in the 3,000 meters. McGee, the NCAA runner-up in the women’s 1,500 meters, capped off her June with one of the biggest moments of her career, earning a spot on Team USA with a bronze medalist finish in the event. The Gator junior solidified her spot on Team USA with a school record of 4:06.67 in the women’s 1,500 meters, well above the B standard.
For the men, freshman Jimmy Clark pulled off an upset at the SEC Outdoors Championships, and finished his season with personal bests of 13:58.24 (5,000 meters) and 29:08.32 (10,000 meters). For his efforts, Clark was named the 2013 SEC Men’s Freshman Runner of the Year for the outdoor season. Junior Sean Obinwa was the SEC Champion indoors in the men’s 800 meters with his time of 1:48.40. Obinwa tallied two All-America performances in 2013, earning First Team honors indoors and Second Team accolades outdoors.
In just his first season at the helm of the cross country program, Spangler picked up SEC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors, while seven Gator runners racked up All-SEC accolades.
Spangler guided the Florida women’s squad to the 2012 SEC Championship, the program’s third title in the last four years and sixth overall in UF history. UF’s six cross country SEC titles are the second-most for a conference team in league history.
For Spangler, the coaching award marks his first at Florida and the second such award in his coaching career after picking up 2009 Big South Conference Women’s Coach of the Year honors while at the Virginia Military Institute. Spangler became the first UF cross country coach to lead a Gator squad to the SEC title in his first season and his coaching accolade was Florida’s sixth ever.
Along with the women’s SEC Championship and fifth consecutive top-three finish, Florida’s men’s squad finished fifth overall for the Gators’ 16th straight top-five finish at the conference championship.
Spangler’s pupils had a banner year in 2012, tallying eight All-America honors and four SEC titles. Three of those SEC Championships belonged to senior Genevieve LaCaze, who was the 2012 SEC Commissioner’s Trophy winner after sweeping the women’s 1,500 meters, 3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000 meters for the first time in SEC history. LaCaze was named the SEC Co-Women’s Runner of the Year and the USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year. She was the NCAA runner-up in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and represented her native Australia at the 2012 Olympic Games in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Florence Ngetich was the lone SEC Champion indoors on the women’s side, racing a personal best of 16:12.64 in the women’s 5,000 meters, the second-best performance in Florida school history.
In 2012, the Florida women’s distance medley relay broke the school record in the event by racing in the Columbia Last Chance Meet at the Armory. The foursome finished in 10:58.77, marking just the 11th time in NCAA history that a women’s distance medley relay squad had broken the 11-minute barrier.
Prior to Florida, Spangler spent 10 years as the assistant track and head cross country coach at The Virginia Military Institute.
Spangler, the 2009 Big South Women’s 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 Spangler’s tutelage.
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 master’s 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.
Spangler produced two team conference runner-up squads at VMI, 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 Spangler’s 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. In 2011, Kitur again advanced to NCAAs, while freshman Cabell Willis qualified for the USATF Junior National Championships.
Perhaps 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 outdoors.
Throughout his tenure in Lexington, Va., the track and cross country teams shattered 21 distance records combined, while Spangler’s 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 master’s 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.
University of Florida:
- 2012 Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Women’s Team Champions
- 2012 Southeastern Conference Women’s Cross Country Champions
- 2012 SEC Cross Country Women’s Coach of the Year
- 8 NCAA All-Americans
- 8 All-Southeastern Conference Performers
- 5 Southeastern Conference Champions
- 3 University of Florida records
- 2 World Championship qualifiers
- 1 Olympic Games qualifier
The Virginia Military Institute:
- 2009 Big South Conference Coach of the Year (Women’s Cross Country)
- 4 NCAA Regional Track & Field Distance Qualifiers
- 4 NCAA National Championship Qualifiers
- 1 NCAA All-American. Donnie Cowart 8:44.66 Steeplechase
- 1 NCAA All-American Honorable Mention. Felix Kitur 1:48 800m
- #1 U.S. and World ranked men’s 2011 indoor 4x800m relay. 7:24.70
- VMI’s first NCAA regional ranking (Men’s Cross Country-Top 15)
- 2 Runner-up team finishes at Big South Cross Country Championships (Men 2005, Women 2009)
- 4 Runner-up team finishes at the Big South Track & Field Indoor Championships (Men 2004, 2005, 2009, 2011)
- 1 Runner-up team finish at the Big South Outdoor Championships (2009)
- 4 All-IC4A Relay Teams (07-3rd & 08-2nd Distance Medley Relay, 08 & 11 4x800m champions)
- 20 All-IC4A Performers (Top 3)
- 21 distance school records
- 70 All-Big South Cross Country/ Track and Field-distance performers
- 64 IC4A/ECAC Championship distance/mid-distance qualifiers
- 15 Big South Conference Individual champions (Cross Country & Track-Distance)
- 2 USA Track & Field National Championship qualifiers
- 2 USA Junior National Championship qualifiers
- 3 Big South Athletes of the Year (Donnie Cowart-2009, Hannah Granger-2009, Felix Kitur-2011)
- 3 Big South Cross Country Freshmen of the Year (Jenna Moye-2009, Tammy Cheung-2010, Emily Dinning-2011)
- 2 NCAA Division I All-Academic Team (2009 & 2010 Women’s Cross Country)
- 2000 Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track and Field Women’s Team Champions
- 2002 Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track and Field Men’s Team Champions
- 2001 NCAA Women’s Cross Country national qualifying team
- 5 USA Junior National Track and Field distance qualifiers
- 2 World Junior Track and Field distance qualifiers
- 13 NCAA All-Region Cross Country performers
- 3 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country performers
- 1 Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Female Freshmen of the Year
- 3 NCAA Individual Cross Country qualifiers
- 3 Time All-Academic Team with distinction (Men’s 2001, #2 NCAA Ranked)
- Established 4 new school distance and mid-distance records
- 2 NCAA Track and Field distance All-Americans
Director for the following events:
- Florida Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships (99-01)
- Seminole High School Cross Country Invitational (99-01)
- FACA High School Senior All-Star Cross Country Championships (01)
- 2005 Big South Cross Country Championships (05)
- VMI High School Indoor Track & Field Invitational (05-08)
- Military Track and Field Championships (07,10)
- USA Track and Field Official Clinic-Virginia Chapter (07-08)
- 2005 & 2011 Big South Outdoor Track and Field Championships
- VMI Classic High School Outdoor Track and Field Invitational (03-11)
- Coordination of fund raising effort for both charity and team revenue purposes which include the Across the State Relay in Florida and the Blue Ridge Relay in Virginia.
- Member of three-coach panel who votes for Big South Athlete of the Week
University of Alabama Athletic Accomplishments:
- All-SEC Individual Cross Country Selection (14th place-97)
- All-NCAA South Region Cross Country Selection (6th place-97)
- Competed in two NCAA Cross Country Championships (96 & 97)