After losing Edrick Floreal to Texas last month, UK has hired a new track and field coach. Lonnie Greene will take over at Kentucky after six seasons at Purdue, in which he built the Boilermakers into a national power.
“Lonnie is a quality person who shares our commitment to fostering growth and continuing to build our track and field and cross country programs in all facets,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “I had the pleasure of watching him and his team in person last month at nationals and was so impressed by the energy and unity of his team. Getting a chance to spend time with him during the interview process only solidified the impression he made.
“Lonnie will bring the same integrity to our program that he did in establishing Purdue as a contender on a national level. He has a championship mentality honed over the many seasons he spent in our conference at Arkansas, as well as a focus on helping the young people he leads grow as students. We are pleased to welcome Lonnie, his wife LaTayna and his entire family to our UK Athletics family.”
Greene led the Purdue women’s team to an eighth place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last month. Under his guidance, Purdue’s women’s team won the team title at 2017 Big Ten Outdoor Championships for the first time since 1999 and finished 14th at each of the last two NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In 2016, then men’s team finished 15th at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships – best since 1972 – and 13th at NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships – second best in school history. Greene was named Women’s Head Coach of the Year in the Great Lakes Region three times in the last two years by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, twice for outdoors and last year for indoors.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity as head coach at Kentucky,” Greene said. “Before I go any further I want to thank everyone I worked with at Purdue. They gave me a chance and I’ll always be so grateful to have worked with them. Thank you to Mitch Barnhart and Jason Schlafer for their leadership and for trusting me to take on this role at UK. I look forward to hitting the ground running building winning teams in the classroom and on the track. I can’t wait to start leading this great program. Go Big Blue!”
Before taking over at Purdue, Greene spent 16 seasons as an assistant at perennial power Arkansas, serving as associate head coach in charge of sprints, hurdles, horizontal jumps and multi events from 2000-2012. In each of his last two seasons with the Razorbacks, he was named USTFCCCA South Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year. In 2004, he was named National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Greene hails from Nassau, Bahamas, but earned his B.S. from Murray State University in 1989. He is married to LaTayna Stewart. The couple has a daughter, Charisse; three sons, Cameron, Isaiah and Jacob; and two grandchildren, Tylan and Caleb.
Welcome back to the Bluegrass, coach!