Smith, Vanhoy Named Region Assistant Coaches of the Year
March 6, 2017

NEW ORLEANS – Ole Miss swept the awards for men’s and women’s indoor assistant coaches of the year for the South Region as recognized by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.

Ryan Vanhoy was voted South Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year, and John Smith was tabbed South Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year. It is the third such honor of Vanhoy’s career (2015 men’s outdoor, 2016 men’s indoor). Smith is now a six-time region assistant coach of the year in addition to being the 2015 National Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year while at Southern Illinois.

Each of the nine regions honored both genders’ top track athletes and field athletes, and the top men’s and women’s head coaches and assistant coaches.

Award winners were determined by a vote of USTFCCCA member coaches following a nomination period. Only those individuals from USTFCCCA member programs are eligible for awards.

Vanhoy, in his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Rebels, helped the Ole Miss men tie for their best SEC indoor finish in program history with a third-place result in Nashville. Of the team's 76 points at the SEC meet (second-most in program history), 66 came from Vanhoy-coached events (800m, mile, 3000m, 5000m, DMR). The distance medley relay squad of Craig Engels, Nick DeRay, Sean Tobin and Robert Domanic broke their own SEC meet record (9:32.36) and won the league title for fourth straight year. The Rebels also went 1-2-3 in the SEC mile and won the 5000 meters for the second straight year. In the NCAA rankings, the DMR squad is No. 1 in the nation (9:26.55, converted), while MJ Erb is No. 7 in the 5000 (13:43.55).

Smith, in his second year on head coach Connie Price-Smith’s Rebel staff, has done wonders with the women’s throwers, who helped Ole Miss to its best SEC indoor finish in program history with a fifth-place result in Nashville. Of the school-record 61.5 team points, 33 were by Smith-coached athletes. Ole Miss has its highest national ranking (No. 8) since 2008. Junior Raven Saunders broke the SEC meet record in the shot put (19.07m/62-6.75) and tops the 2017 world rankings with a mark of 19.10m/62-8 from January. JUCO transfer Janeah Stewart also broke an SEC meet record with her NCAA-leading weight throw of 23.18m/76-0.75, an 11-foot improvement since she arrived at Ole Miss. Saunders also ranks No. 8 in the NCAA in the weight throw, and Stewart is No. 8 nationally in the shot put.

Next up for Ole Miss are the NCAA Indoor Championships this Friday and Saturday. The Rebels have a school-record 10 entries (five men’s, five women’s) who will contest for national titles in College Station, Texas.

For more information on Ole Miss Track & Field, follow the Rebels on Twitter (@OleMissTrack), Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

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