Thornton named track and field head coach for 2008 Beijing Olympics
INDIANAPOLIS -- The United States Olympic Committee and USA Track and Field (USATF) announced late last week that The University of Texas men's track and field head coach Bubba Thornton has been selected as the head coach for Team USA's men's track and field squad for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The public announcement comes just weeks after Thornton led the Longhorns to their highest-ever national team indoor finish (third-place) at the NCAA Championships, and scored the second-highest Texas point total for an indoor national meet in UT history (34 points; second to 35 points scored in 2006).
Thornton was also selected by his coaching peers as the 2007 United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association South Central Region Indoor Coach of the Year.
"I'm humbled and honored to be part of a very elite group of coaches who will represent our country at the Olympics and thank USA Track and Field for nominating me," said Thornton. "It is such a privilege to coach the U.S. Olympic Team. I am looking forward to the challenges, the camaraderie and the competitions. To our 2008 Olympic track and field hopefuls, I encourage you to train hard and prepare for what will be special moments in Beijing."
In the midst of his 12th season on the Forty Acres, Thornton has transformed the Texas men's track and field program into a national title contender, and Texas athletes have won 14 NCAA individual titles. He has produced 42 indoor All-Americans and 35 outdoor All-Americans, and his athletes hold 15 of the 19 indoor school records and 11 of the 21 modern outdoor records. Under his leadership, the Longhorns have logged 12 top-10 NCAA finishes (six indoor, six outdoor) and eight Big 12 conference titles (three indoor, five outdoor).
Thornton came to Texas following a 14-year run as head coach of Texas Christian University's men's and women's track and field programs, where he developed 72 NCAA All-Americans and guided the men's squad to five NCAA top-10 finishes (1983-87-88-89-91). He coached the Horned Frogs to five NCAA 4x100-meter relay championships (1986-87-89-91-95) and the 1983 4x400-meter relay national title.
A veteran of international coaching staffs, Thornton was Team USA's men's head coach at the 2003 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Paris and at the 1996 World Junior Championships in Sydney, Australia. He was an assistant coach for the 2000 Olympic team in Sydney.
In Olympic competition, Team USA track and field athletes have won 317 gold medals and 736 medals overall, by far the most won in any sport by any country. In 2004, track athletes won eight gold and 25 medals total at the Athens Olympic Games, the highest medal tally since the 1992 Olympic Games (30).