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Kentucky Loses Track Coach Edrick Floréal


© Kirby Lee | USTSI

Kentucky’s rising track and field program just lost its leader.  After coaching UK’s program for the last six seasons, Edrick Floréal will be the next head coach of Texas’ track and field team, the school announced.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t start off by thanking Mitch Barnhart and everyone at Kentucky,” Floréal said in a statement. “I’m so grateful for all the support they gave me in building a world-class program there.

“It’s because of them that I have an opportunity like this, and I am so excited to be the head coach at Texas. It’s the elite of the elite in track and field programs, and the potential to achieve greatness is fantastic. You have the premier track and field state in the country to recruit in, a rich and proud history, and are the flagship institution of the state. It’s truly an amazing opportunity.”

When Floréal arrived in Lexington, the track program was an afterthought.  Placing at the bottom of the SEC, the women’s team had never won a trophy as a top four finisher at the National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  In three of the last four years, Kentucky has earned a top four finish on the NCAA’s biggest stage.

Floréal brought hardware and a ton of swagger to the program.  Kendra Harrison broke a hurdling world record and Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won a pair of National Titles in the hurdles, which helped recruit Olympian Sydney McLaughlin to Kentucky.  McLaughlin cemented UK’s status as “Hurdle U,” as the coach’s motto “Flo Knows” earned enough pedigree for a Sports Illustrated profile.

His contributions to UK’s women’s team are the most significant, but you cannot overlook what he did to develop the men’s team.  This year UK’s Tim Duckworth became just the second man to ever win the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon, joining Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton.

Now Mitch Barnhart must conquer the impossible task of finding Floréal’s replacement.

“We are grateful to Edrick Floréal for his work leading our program and wish him well as he pursues this opportunity at Texas,” Barnhart Tweeted.  “We believe the success Kentucky track and field and cross country have seen in recent years is just a glimpse of what’s to come for Kentucky Track.

“A national search for our next head coach will begin immediately. Our focus in this search will remain on our student-athletes and their growth as people and competitors.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

33 responses to “Kentucky Loses Track Coach Edrick Floréal”

  1. JTHinton

    Maybe it’s just me, but I find it nearly impossible to get into individual collegiate sports (swimming/diving, track/field, tennis, etc). While I always want UK to win, I just don’t feel the emotional attachment. This season in volleyball, it hurt when Nebraska beat us in the elite 8, and I never watch college v-ball, but I started caring more about it. Anyway, If this were, say, the ice hockey or women’s soccer team, or any other team sport that I don’t watch much of, I’d care a lot more. That being said, this sounds like a big deal, which can’t be good…

    1. foamfinger

      It is much easier to get into those things if you are able to watch some of those events in person for a few years. I’m not a baseball fan, but I will go to a few games a year with my friend and I kind of get more into it. I kind of keep track of the players, how they are doing after graduating and all that, so when I hear about former players in the MLB, it’s kind of cool.
      Volleyball games are raucous events that everyone should attend if they can. I think that is one of the big reasons why a lot of fans rallied around to watch them in the postseason.

    2. JTHinton

      Yeah, I’d definitely like to make it out to some more! Always seem to be too busy but I’d love to make time for it.

    3. JusSayin

      Wait till you see 4 UK alumni in the same heat at the 2020 Olympics

    4. JaxWildcat

      Big shoes to fill but as he said in the quoted part of the statement, Texas is an elite track program. Hard to blame him for jumping to that. Hopefully whoever comes in can build on the success coach Flo started.

    5. 4everUKblue

      ^^^

  2. 72uksprinter

    Sux.

  3. Catcasey1

    It’s sad Mitch wouldn’t match the offer of Texas. Take some of stoops overpaid money

    1. J-Dub421

      How do you know he didn’t?

    2. crazycatfan65

      Catcasey, why don’t you take your sorry UK hating ass to a loserville or dUKe board? Your attitude sucks and how can you call yourself a UK fan?You can’t you are nothing more than a hater.

  4. Cmart0907

    Didn’t he see what happened to Charlie Strong? African American coaches people are not welcomed into Texas Universities. Yep i said it.

    1. runningunnin.454

      Nonsense…Shaka Smart?
      Charlie Strong did not win.

    2. Bobbum Man

      Ur an idiot

    3. 4everUKblue

      Shaka’s not setting the world on fire so far.

    4. wyatts1

      You said it cause your a race baiting idiot cmart. It comes down to success they have or they dont have it. It’s simple if you win then you stay (or get a call from the next level), either way it’s not a race issue and I find it disgusting that idiots like you wanna make everything that happens to blacks (only the bad) the fault of being discrimination, Instead of what’s really going on. This guy has earned this “promotion” in his view and will either fail or succeed due to his achievements or his failures. Like saying John Stockton was only a pro cause he was white lol, it just sounds silly. Can’t we have one simple conversation about sports without someone bringing up some racist BS, there I said it ???

  5. Cmart0907

    @catscasey1. You can say that again.

    1. crazycatfan65

      Another Uk hater huh Cma Ole Bobby P misses your cardinal loving ass so do everyone a favor and stick to Cardschronicle.

  6. Catlogic15

    UK will never have another like him. Say what you want about track and field, but Coach Flo put UK on the national map for this sport, and garnered UK a ton of legitimate exposure, i.e SI article.
    The program will never be the same. No way another Sydney comes here. Glad we had the moment at least.

    1. 4everUKblue

      Absolutely correct! For the first time I was excited about UK track and field and was even looking forward to next season….not anymore.

  7. 72uksprinter

    In the NCAA Men’s, six Texas schools placed in the Top 22 with Texas finishing 5th out of those schools.
    Texas Men finished at #19, Kentucky at #17 so, at least this season, they were far from “the elite of the elite.”
    In the Women’s division, Texas finished T54 with exactly 1 point. Nothing elite about that.
    Again, a couple of their Texas rivals fared far better than that.
    As we know, UK Women finished 3rd, with only perennial powerhouse Arkansas and Georgia above them.
    Thanks to Coach Flo for bringing glory and respect back to UK Track.
    His comments about Texas’ success seem misplaced but I wish him the best.
    There might be unknown factors in his decision but in the end, following the money is usually the answer.
    If so, it’s too bad Mitch couldn’t outbid the Longhorns.
    Floreal build a very solid platform.
    We need to get a top-tier coach hired ASAP to nail down the recruits and keep our momentum.
    As a proud T&F alum, I’d love to see the men and women continue to represent us at the top of the SEC, NCAA and around the major meets everywhere.
    Go UK!

    1. rickwhitetx

      Recently, yeah, the Horns haven’t been so hot, but historically, they are one of the elite T&F schools in the country. Coach Floreal will be a welcome change down here. That said, it sux that he’s leaving UK.

  8. Sentient Third Eye

    Absolutely devastating for the program. How can UK possibly respond to this without just starting over?

  9. runningunnin.454

    Ugh…blindsided by a sucker punch.

  10. 4everUKblue

    Very bad news!

  11. CoachCat

    I hope he fails miserably

  12. woohop1

    Barnhart is an IDIOT to let him go. Barnhart promises to hire the best coaches……..BS…..he just lost one. Back to the old days where Track and Field is a 3rd level discipline at UK. Pathetic AD IMO!

    1. ukkatzfan

      Good thing it is just your opinion. Cause your opinion SUCKS. We could use your opinion to vacuum the trash out of Rupp and Kroger Field after games. Woohop is the sound your opinion makes as it sucks.

  13. JPGott2

    Reality is that Texas’ athletic budget is in a league of it own nationally. Can’t compete w their ability to write a check.

    We need to go hard right now w this search and use the recent success. Our facilities r also new.

  14. JaxWildcat

    Big shoes to fill but as he said in the quoted part of the statement, Texas is an elite track program. Hard to blame him for jumping to that. Hopefully whoever comes in can build on the success coach Flo started.

  15. notFromhere

    “Absolutely devastating”

    “Ugh…blindsided by a sucker punch”

    What? No. No. And No!

    It’s not devastating nor being blindsided because it was an inevitability that someone would offer more than UK could.

    Sucker punch? WTF?

    The key line in that is the field he has to recruit IN TEXAS. Remember that big state down south? 2nd biggest state? Stacked with football, baseball, and track recruits.

    Most T&F programs do not have a UK Basketball recruiting budget. The less far they have to go to recruit the better. This is what UK can’t offer. If he can take UK to 4th in the NCAA championships, what couldn’t he do at Texas?

    Barnhart got Floreal here, why can’t we find another up and coming coach? Why is the sky always falling with you people?

    1. ukkatzfan

      Uk fans are the Chicken Little of Fan bases. Hoping they pick up a Peaky Blinder attitude. We are the **cking Uk Wildcats !!!

  16. bd2153

    Why leave a rising program for one that’s needs work. People are never happy with what they have. Just finished 4th in nation.

  17. TBW3011

    Talk about how great Mitch has done with “minor sports”, but they are still stepping stone jobs. He can’t keep people the way Jurich kept them.