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Woody pegged as new director

BY JORDAN HANSEN | JULY 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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After an internal search that focused on four current Iowa assistant coaches, Joey Woody has been picked to succeed Larry Wieczorek as director of track and field and cross-country.

“I’m excited to hear them feel that I could take the step up to the next level and to continue to uphold the strong track and field tradition that Iowa has,” Woody said. “I feel very honored and blessed to have this opportunity and it’s something I’ve worked hard for.”

Woody, an Iowa City native, has been with the Hawkeyes since 2006, first as a volunteer assistant coach and then hired after that season. In 2013, he also picked up the additional responsibilities of associate track and field head coach.

A bona-fide track star, he was a four-time All-American at Northern Iowa, culminating in a 1997 NCAA victory in the 400-meter hurdles.

Once he graduated from Northern Iowa, he began as an assistant coach for the team as well as running professionally. Perhaps his greatest achievement on the track was winning a silver medal in the 2003 World Championships and being ranked second worldwide in the event.

“He didn’t have a lot of coaching experience when he came here as a volunteer coach, but he is a student of the sport and has developed himself into being an outstanding coach,” Wieczorek said.

“For the past eight years, he has brought a lot into this program and is a great leader and teacher.”

In the years that he has been here, he has coached 10 athletes to Big Ten individual titles, has three conference relay titles under his belt and, in addition  to that, has coached 33 All-Americans.

His latest achievement was transforming four very different runners into a sixth-place NCAA 4x100-meter relay team.

“I’m excited to have Joey Woody leading our program. He’s achieved success at a high level during each step in his career and is well respected nationally in the track and field community,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a statement. “We have a tremendous group of coaches and a great nucleus of student-athletes returning next year. I’m very optimistic about the future under Joey’s leadership.”

The national respect that Woody is a fringe benefit that could also lead to better and more widespread recruiting, something that the Hawkeyes could certainly use.

Another factor that will help the Hawkeyes adjust to life after Wieczorek is that Woody comes from inside the program, and the athletes trust him.

For Woody, this is just about as perfect of a situation that could have been imagined.

“Being an Iowa guy, this really is a fortunate dream come true, and I think this was the direction I was meant to be in,” Woody said. “I’m an Iowa guy, grew up here, so this is really something that I’ve always been working toward.”


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