Carl Lewis, Will Blackburn take reins of UH track and field
After Leroy Burrell’s departure to Auburn, UH track and field is staying in-house as it begins a new era by naming Will Blackburn the program’s director and promoting Carl Lewis to fill the head coach position, the University announced Thursday morning.
“Will and Carl are both incredible representatives and products of the University of Houston, Houston Athletics and our track and field programs,” said athletic director Chris Pezman. “I am personally grateful for their leadership during this transitionary time. We are fortunate to have individuals of their caliber leading our program with Will doing so on the day-to-day side and Carl as head coach. They are two of the very best in the country.”
This move comes after Burrell, who had been at the helm of the Cougars’ track and field program for 23 years, announced he was leaving UH to take over as head coach of Auburn’s track and field program in June.
Lewis, who starred at UH as a sprinter and long jumper before becoming one of the most decorated Olympians in history with nine gold medals, has been on the UH track and field staff since 2013 and played a pivotal role in the Cougars’ immense success under Burrell, particularly in sprinting events.
“I am excited to continue with this staff on our journey to win a national championship,” Lewis said. “We wanted to continue the legacy of Leroy Burrell and Tom Tellez and agreed this was the way to do it. Will and I have known each other for multiple years and are looking forward to leading this team to all the things we want to do and keeping the history and tradition of #HTownSpeedCity alive.”
Blackburn competed as a thrower during his time as a student-athlete at UH before joining the Cougars’ coaching staff in 2000 to help develop throwers, long jumpers and triple jumpers.
Along with overseeing the program as a whole in his director role, Blackburn will also continue to coach the throwing and horizontal jumping events.
“What an exciting opportunity to continue and build upon the success and achievements of the long-celebrated history of the University of Houston Track and Field program,” Blackburn said. “The Houston Track and Field program is about continuing and building upon its historic legacy. I have a tremendous amount of passion for the University of Houston and this is truly a dream come true.”