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USF Tabs Western Kentucky Head Coach Erik Jenkins to Lead Track & Field, Cross Country

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The last coach USF hired from WKU worked out.

University of South Florida Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly announced the hiring of Western Kentucky Track & Field, and Cross Country head coach Erik Jenkins to the same position.

From the release:

“Erik has a proven track record of excellence and has instilled a championship mindset and culture as head coach at Western Kentucky,” Kelly said. “His ability to recruit and develop talented student-athletes, along with his strong ties to the state of Florida, makes him the perfect fit to lead our track and field and cross country programs.”

This is marks Kelly’s first hiring as VP of Athletics after he fired former T&F, CC coach Warren Bye earlier this month.

Jenkins comes to Tampa after spending the last 11 seasons at head coach at WKU where he helped produce 49 individual All-Americans, plus an additional 14 relay team All-Americans, 30 Sun Belt/ C-USA team championships across all sports and was named Coach of the Year another 21 times during his tenure.

Jenkins graduated from WKU in 1999, and spent 2000-2007 as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Hilltoppers.

“I am ecstatic about the opportunity to return to Florida and lead the track and field and cross country programs at USF,” Jenkins said. “USF provides an exciting platform for students to receive a world-class education and live in Tampa, one of the nation’s most vibrant cities. I will lead this program with unwavering passion and a strong sense of purpose. We want USF to be a destination for the nation’s best student-athletes to excel academically, develop their athletic skills and compete at the highest level they can. I want to thank Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly for the opportunity to lead this program, and I look forward to working with him and his staff.”

Jenkins has coached five Olympic Trial athletes, and two went on to compete at the Olympics.

Jenkins coached former XFL star Rod “He Hate Me” Smart, as well as former NFL safety Mel Mitchell and cornerback Joseph Jefferson.