Saturday 17 November, 2018

Jamaican coach Lennox Graham resigns from Johnson C Smith University

Top Jamaican track and field coach  Lennox Graham.

Top Jamaican track and field coach  Lennox Graham.

Top Jamaican track and field coach  Lennox Graham has resigned from Johnson C Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, after almost a decade in charge of the Division 2 powerhouse.

The school announced the Jamaican resignation while mentioning that the search for a new track and field coach will begin immediately.

"I wish the track and field programs, the athletic department and Johnson C. Smith University nothing but great success in the future," said Graham, who took over the track programme in 2007 and immediately transformed the JCSU track and field program, having an immediate impact at the CIAA, NCAA and international levels. "I also want to thank God for my future opportunities to coach a sport that I love."

It is not immediately clear where Graham is headed but he leaves behind a strong legacy at JCSU.

He was named the USTFCCCA Division II Women's Outdoor Track and Field National Coach of the Year for the 2012-13 season and also earned nine CIAA Coach of the Year designations. He also garnered two Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honours.

Graham has coached numerous athletes to medalist finishes, All-CIAA, All-Region, and All-American designations. Under his guidance, JCSU athletes have participated in NACAC, Junior Pan-American Championships, Penn Relays, NCAA Championships, World University Games, and the IAAF World Championships.

In the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, Graham coached siblings Danielle and Shermaine Williams to the 100m hurdles final – a first for female siblings in the history of the World Championships.

Danielle Williams won the event in 12.58 seconds while Shermaine placed seventh by running a 12.91. He also coached Danielle to the 2015 World University Games Championship in the 100m hurdles and again in the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

 In 2016, Graham served as a coach with the Jamaican contingent in the Rio Olympic Games.  All told, he has coached three JCSU athletes that have qualified for the Olympics in Leford Green (Jamaica, 2012), Shermaine Williams (Jamaica, 2012 and 2016), and current standout Kendra Clarke (Canada, 2016).

In 2011, Graham guided the JCSU women's team to its first CIAA Outdoor Championship. The Golden Bulls also won CIAA titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016. In 2017, JCSU's women's team also captured the first CIAA Indoor Championship in school history.

Collectively, Graham has coached 27 NCAA Division II Champions (Indoor and Outdoor), had five athletes set NCAA Division II records (60m hurdles, 200m, 400m hurdles, 4x100m), and has coached JCSU athletes to 213 All-America designations.

Prior to JCSU, Graham served as the head coach at Kingston College (High School) in his native Jamaica. Also a successful high school coach, he guided his team to six Jamaican National High School Championships over his tenure.

He currently holds an IAAF Level 5 Elite coaching certification specializing in sprints and hurdles.

"We wish Coach Graham tremendous success in his new opportunity," said JCSU Athletics Director Stephen Joyner, Sr. "We know that he will continue to flourish and will continue to develop top-notch collegiate and international talent."