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Texas hires Edrick Floreal as track and field coach

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Chris Del Conte hopes the former Olympian will bring some much-needed stability to one of the nation’s top track and field programs.

Previews - 2015 IAAF World Championships Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF

Following a search process that began in February and stretched for nearly four months, the Texas Longhorns announced on Wednesday that Edrick Floreal is the new track and field coach.

“Edrick is a terrific coach who has a tremendous reputation in the track and field community,” athletics director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “He’s a coach I’ve followed for a long time and is so well respected. Everyone I talked to had great things to say, and I really enjoyed visiting with him. I am excited about what he’ll bring to our program and how he’ll build on the proud tradition of Texas track and field.”

Floreal comes to Austin after 12 years as a head coach — six with Stanford and six with Kentucky. Under Floreal, the Wildcats program became a national contender, with the women achieving three top-four finishes in the last four years, including a second-place showing in 2015.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t start off by thanking Mitch Barnhart and everyone at Kentucky,” said Floréal. “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. My job is to provide great coaching, great development and to help kids believe they can reach personal heights they never dreamed of, so we can build on all of the great success that Texas track and field has had for many years.”

An Arkansas graduate, Floreal earned a vaunted reputation in the track and field world as the nation’s best triple jumper, having won five individual national titles and four team championships during his time with the Razorbacks.

Floreal also represented Canada in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

As a coach, Floreal made his name at Stanford, leading the cross country program to remarkable success and coaching 91 athletes who earned 197 All-American honors.

After heading back to Kentucky, where he was an assistant coach before leaving for Palo Alto, Floreal experienced similar success.

“People who know me know I’m a tireless worker, I’m a workaholic and love being at the track,” Floréal said. “I am driven to succeed and come to work every day with the burning desire to make everybody on the team better. I am going to bring that same focus, passion and drive to Texas. I am so excited to get there, meet the team and become a part of the Longhorn community.”

Floreal also has experience as a coach on the international stage — he led the US Men’s National Team to the most medals of any country in the 2015 IAAF World Championships and served as the men’s jumps and multi-events coach in the 2012 Olympics. Under his guidance, the Americans earned six medals.

Del Conte hopes that Floreal will not only continue the success of the Texas track and field program, but also bring some stability.

Previous coach Mario Santegna was fired after five seasons following an ethics and misconduct investigation that resulted in a personal leave and then administrative leave in 2016. Santegna returned in 2017, but Del Conte decided to “head in a new direction” shortly after taking over.

Santegna replaced Bev Kearney, who was fired in 2013 for having a relationship with one of her athletes in the 2000s. Kearney has a pending lawsuit against the school that alleges race and sex discrimination.