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Woody hopes fresh faces give Iowa extra push

BY COURTNEY BAUMANN | DECEMBER 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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It is said that patience is a virtue, but Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody prefers those who are impatient.

Woody added two new — and young — coaches to his staff for the 2014-15 season, Andrew Dubs and Jason Wakenight.

“The great thing about the youthfulness of the coaching staff is that they’re hungry. They’re go-getters, they’re really anxious to be successful now,” Woody said. “Being impatient is going to keep you going, keep you motivated, keep you focused on working, working, working until we see that success start to happen.”

For Wakenight, taking the position was a homecoming of sorts. The new recruiting coordinator was a three-year letter winner for the Hawkeyes from 2004-06. Twice he was an NCAA qualifier in the 1,600-meter relay, and he was named Iowa men’s track and field student-athlete of the year his senior season.

Most recently, Wakenight has served as recruiting coordinatinator at Loyola. He will continue recruiting in a similar role in Iowa City.

“He’s seen how to build a program, not only here at Iowa but also at Loyola for the past three years,” Woody said. “They went from the bottom to the top of their conferences and really had a lot of individual success, even at the national level.”

As a volunteer coach, Wakenight has seen the success the Iowa program is capable of — he helped the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten men’s outdoor championship in 2011. Now as an assistant coach, he is anxious to continue to strive for more.

“The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is trying to take the success that we had in 2011 and try to replicate it,” he said. “As exciting as it was to win a Big Ten title, I feel like there’s something very unsavory about winning and then not being able to time after time prove that it wasn’t a fluke and actually repeatedly be a force in the conference.“

The new coach is hungry to bring success and winning attitudes to a growing Iowa track and field program. Wakenight said that comes developing a culture of fearlessness in the Iowa program.

He said the Hawkeyes have to focus on themselves and not be afraid to go toe-to-toe with some of the best schools in the conference.

Ethan Holmes, a first-team All-American who was on the 2011 championship team, said Iowa is the place for Wakenight.

“He is a Hawkeye through and through and he's back where he belongs,” he said.

The former Hawkeye sees Wakenight’s return as an opportunity to create a winning program and get the Hawkeyes back to the top of the conference, as it was in 2011.

“All of the coaches are on the same page as far as their goals and philosophies are concerned,” Holmes said. “In my opinion, I believe that having everyone on the same page is the first step in building a championship program.”

Follow @cbomb12 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa track and field team.


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