One of the most successful and decorated coaches across all of collegiate athletics, Beverly Kearney resigned as women's track and field and cross country head coach at The University of Texas on Jan. 5, 2013.
Kearney has totaled seven NCAA National Championships in her 26 years as a head coach, six at Texas and one at the University of Florida. During her head coaching career, her teams have captured 23 league titles (12 Big 12 Conference, eight Southwest Conference and three Southeastern Conference) and recorded an undefeated mark in four years of competition in the Southwest Conference (1993-1996).
Since taking over the Texas program in 1993, Kearney has led the Longhorns to six NCAA National Championships and 20 league titles. Her teams have won in commanding fashion (witness UT's record 30-point margin of victory at the 1998 NCAA Indoor meet) and by the slimmest of margins (the Longhorns won the 1998 NCAA Outdoor, 1999 NCAA Indoor, 1999 NCAA Outdoor and 2005 NCAA Outdoor meets in the final event).
On Dec. 17, 2007, Kearney received one of the highest honors of her career -- enshrinement into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Hall of Fame, which took place at the national convention in Phoenix, Ariz. She became the sixth Longhorn, and second since Texas Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds in 2006, to enter the Hall of Fame.
In her Longhorn tenure, Kearney led UT to an unprecedented run of 14 consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships (1994-2007) and seven top-three finishes overall. Her success at the NCAA Indoor National Championships is equally impressive as she has led the Longhorns to 16 consecutive top-11 finishes (1994-2009) and eight top-three finishes. On the conference level, Kearney's Texas teams also have dominated, winning 19 of a possible 40 conference team titles.
Individually, Kearney's athletes are among the most decorated in the nation. Since 1993, she has guided the Longhorns to a total of 48 individual national titles (32 individual, 16 relay), a total surpassed only by LSU since 1993. In her 20 seasons at Texas, 70 Longhorns have earned All-America status to account for 358 All-America accolades.
Kearney herself has been honored with five National Coach of the Year honors, nine District Coach of the Year accolades and 16 Conference Coach of the Year honors. And, this is just from her tenure at the University of Texas. In her 26 years overall as a head coach, Kearney has accumulated enough honors to last a lifetime: 40 Coach of the Year honors, 40 NCAA top-10 finishes, seven NCAA Championship titles, 36 NCAA individual champions, 19 relay national titles, and 22 conference team championships.
It is obvious that Kearney and success go hand in hand, as she regularly adds to her list of accomplishments. Most recently, she was one of six honorees at the 2012 BET Honors. An inspirational coach and mentor, Kearney was honored in the education category. She was also recognized as one of CNN's "Breakthrough Women" in 2012 and was bestowed the Pioneer Award by the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation. In October of 2006, the Buiniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis recognized Kearney as a 2006 Sports Legend at the 21st Annual Great Sports Legend Dinner. In November of 2006, Kearney was enshrined in the University of Texas Women's Hall of Honor. March of 2007 was a busy month for Kearney as three outlets highlighted her career achievements. Kearney served as a guest panelist on Trinity Broadcasting Network's (TBN) "Praise the Lord" hosted by gospel legend Cece Winans and the world's only live Christian Talk Show. Kearney was selected as the 2007 Honoree Woman of Distinction at the Seventh Annual H-E-B Annual luncheon. The city of Tempe (Ariz.) and the Tempe Sports Authority honored her at the 14th Annual Gene Autry Courage Awards, an honor given annually to deserving men and women in sports who have demonstrated heroism in the face of difficulty or danger. One month later, Kearney served as the honorary co-chair at the Girl Scouts-Lone Star Council's Women of Distinction Luncheon.
A year prior to receiving her National Coach of the Year honor and the Giant Steps Award in 2005, Kearney was named to the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame along with three-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar and eight-time Wimbledon and International Tennis Hall of Famer Maria Bueno. She also received the Gary Bridwell Courage Award, given by the Dallas All Sports Association, for her tenacious and on-going battle to overcome injuries and trauma suffered in a December 2002 car crash.
In 2003, Kearney was one of a select few track and field coaches featured in a special section entitled "What It Takes To Be A Champion" which is on display in the National Track & Field Hall of Fame Museum at the Armory Track Center in New York. In the fall of 2001, Kearney was honored with a special exhibit at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center in Austin for her many achievements on and off the track. In 1996, she reached another pinnacle of success, serving her first year as president of the Men's and Women's Track and Field Coaches' Association, making her the first woman and the first African-American to hold that post.
At the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Kearney guided 11 Longhorns receive All-America honors in 14 events after being named Big 12 Outdoor Coach of the Year. The 2012 NCAA Outdoors were highlighted by Shanay Briscoe's second-place finish in the high jump. Texas' 4x400m relay team of Angele Cooper, Danielle Dowie, Briana Nelson and Kendra Chambers picked up a fifth-place finish and recorded the Longhorns' second-fastest time of the year in the event. The Longhorns won their seventh Big 12 Outdoor Championship with Shanay Briscoe (high jump), Danielle Dowie (400m hurdles) and Natasha Masterson (pole vault) all winning their events on the weekend.
Texas finished fourth at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships. With eight individuals combining for 10 All-America honors, Texas climbed into the top four with a second place finish in the 4x400m relay. Allison Peter also took second in the 200m dash while Sara Sutherland broke the school record in the 5,000m run. At the Big 12 Indoor Championships, Kendra Chambers won the title in the 600y run.
In 2011, Kearney guided the Longhorns to a second place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships and an eighth place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. During the indoor season there were 10 All-America honors in six events at the NCAA Indoor Championships to help with the overall second place finish. Mia Behm took second in the 5,000m and Shanay Briscoe was second in the high jump to lead all UT performers. Outdoors, Victoria Lucas and Shanay Briscoe were second and third in thehigh jump, respectively and the 4x400m relay team also garnered All-America honors.
The 2010 season saw the 4x400m relay team earn All-America honors both indoor and outdoors and nine total All-America honors for the season. Texas improved from 7th at the Big 12 Indoor Championships to 3rd outdoors and sent several athletes to the NCAA Championships as well.
In 2009, Texas made its biggest improvement possibly to date when it brought home a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championship after finishing 46th just a year prior. The Longhorns saw the return of two-time national champion high jumper Destinee Hooker who picked up right where she left off and earned her first indoor national title in demanding fashion. Hooker broke the collegiate record with her leap of 6-6 (1.98m) and then went on to win the outdoor title, building her resume to four total high jump crowns and becoming the first female high jumper to sweep both the indoor and outdoor crowns since 2004. Senior Alexandria Anderson also bulit up on her previous season en route to winning her first individual national title , the outdoor 100m, and running a 51.90 split to lead Texas to its first 4x400m relay national title since 2005.
Kearney returned All-Americans Alex Anderson and Temeka Kincy in 2008 and added heralded-freshman Bianca Knight to the roster. The trio helped UT earn a fourth-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships with Knight taking the title in the 200-meter after recording the second-fastest time ever by an American runner (22.40). Anderson placed third in the event with the second fastest 200m time in UT history (22.81).
With Knight's departure to the professional ranks after the indoor season, Kearney and her squad headed to the Big 12 Outdoor Championships where Anderson and Kincy claimed second-place finishes in the 100m and 200m, respectively. The sprinting duo both advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where Anderson earned her 13th and 14th All-America honors in the 100m (6th place) and 200m (7th place) events.
The 2007 season was a rebuilding year after losing NCAA national champion and All-American sprinter and jumper Marshevet Hooker to the professional rankings. Kearney's squad extended the streak of top-three Big 12 indoor and outdoor team championship finishes to 11. Texas recorded an eighth-place showing at the NCAA indoor meet, second at the NCAA Midwest Region Championship, and sixth at the NCAA outdoor championship.
Under her guidance, six athletes brought home eight All-American honors during the 2007 indoor season. That number increased to eight individuals amassing 16 honors at the outdoor championship. In that group, four were first-time All-Americans under Kearney. Sophomore high jumper Destinee Hooker cleared six consecutive bars to become the first UT woman to win back-to-back NCAA outdoor high jump titles, and just the second in school history to win multiple high jump national championships.
Prior to Marshevet Hooker's departure, Kearney's Longhorns dominated the field to win the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championship with 51 points, topping Stanford, who placed second with 36 points. For the team's success, Kearney was named the 2006 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women's Indoor Coach of the Year. Hooker was the meet's high-point winner after capturing NCAA titles in the 60-meter dash and the long jump. She also added a fourth-place finish in the 200 meters. Junior Michelle Carter claimed her first NCAA championship in the shot, and first-semester freshman Destinee Hooker placed third in the high jump. The 4x400-meter relay quartet of senior Sheretta Jones, freshman Alex Anderson and seniors LaTashia Kerr and Melaine Walker added a third-place finish to tack on six points to the UT tally. Walker added another All-America honor with her fifth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles.
Kearney led the Longhorns to a sixth-place finish at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships despite the absence of the injured Marshevet Hooker. Destinee Hooker capped a standout freshman campaign by capturing her first NCAA high jump title, and the 4x100-meter relay quartet of sophomore Jasmine Lee, Anderson, Kerr and Walker won the NCAA title in 42.84 to tie the team's season-best time. Walker and Michelle Carter added third-place finishes in the 100-meter hurdles and the shot put, respectively. Anderson collected her first individual All-America honor by taking seventh in the 100 meters, and Kerr wrapped up her Longhorn career with a seventh-place showing in the 400 meters. Marshevet Hooker and Melaine Walker each finished the season as finalists for the Honda Cup, given to the nation's top track and field student-athlete.
Included among the numerous awards her athletes have garnered are the Honda Award as National Track & Field Athlete of the Year, the USTCA Indoor and Outdoor Female Athlete of the Year honors and two Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year awards. In the UT record books, her pupils own 36 current school records in 20 events, including top marks by current student-athletes in the Mile and Distance Medley relay (Marielle Hall) and the indoor 5000-meter (Sara Sutherland).
In June of 2005, Kearney's roster of only seven performers made a remarkable run to the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championship in Sacramento, California. With one of the smallest number of competitors in NCAA history on a team, Kearney and her staff led Texas to a seven-point win, as the Longhorns scored 55 points, ahead of runner-up UCLA and South Carolina (each with 48 points). Texas won in dramatic fashion with a first-place finish in the final event of the competition (the 4x400 meter relay).
The Longhorns trailed UCLA by three points and were five points ahead of South Carolina heading into the 4x400-meter relay. UT's quartet of juniors Sheretta Jones, Melaine Walker and LaTashia Kerr along with sophomore anchor Jerrika Chapple won the event in a time of 3:27.13 to clinch the national title for Texas.
During the competition, the Longhorns won national titles in both the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays, while sophomore Marshevet Hooker took the national crown in the 100 meter-dash. All seven Texas performers gained All-American honors as they combined for top-eight finishes in the following events: 100 and 400 meters, 100 and 400 hurdles, long jump, shot put and 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relays.
Earlier in the season, the Longhorns finished second at the Big 12 Conference Indoor Championships and ninth at the NCAA Indoor Championships (competing with just three athletes across four events). With the onset of the outdoor campaign, Texas built the momentum for its run to the national crown by placing second at the Big 12 outdoor meet and winning the 2005 NCAA Midwest Regional Championship.
For her efforts, the USTFCCCA recognized Kearney as the 2005 National Women's Outdoor Coach of the Year and the 2005 Mondo Midwest Region Coach of the Year. It marked the fourth time that Kearney has received national coach of the year honors and the ninth time she has earned regional coaching honors.
Hooker added to the accolades by being named the 2005 USTFCCCA National Female Outdoor Athlete of the Year, Women's South Central District Athlete of the Year and the Big 12 Women's Track and Field Outdoor Performer of the Year. Additionally, she was a finalist for the prestigious 2004-05 Honda Sports Award as the National Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Prior to the outdoor season, Kearney was recognized on February 21, 2005 as one of five recipients of the 2005 Giant Steps Award in Orlando, Fla.; the award, given by the National Consortium for Academics & Sports, is presented to individuals who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community.
Kearney's success in track & field is recognized worldwide as her pupils have accumulated 18 Olympic medals dating back to the 1992 Games. Most recently, Sanya Richards-Ross took home gold medals in the 400-meter and as a member of the 400-meter relay, her third in the event, at the 2012 London Games. Also bringing home a gold in London was Bianca Knight, competing as a member of the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team that smashed the world record in the event in the Olympic final. In 2008, Richards-Ross (then Sanya Richards) earned her second 4x400m relay Olympic gold and in 2004, both Richards and Moushaumi Robinson won gold medals in the event. In 2000, Nanceen Perry helped Team USA win the 4x100-meter relay bronze. In 1996, Deon Hemmings blazed to the gold medal for Jamaica in the 400-meter hurdles, while former Texas multiple All-American Carlette Guidry captured the gold as a member of Team USA's 4x100m relay. Former University of Florida standout Michelle Freeman also earned a bronze in the 4x100 relay for Jamaica in `96. Lavonna Martin, a former star at the University of Tennessee, captured a silver medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the 1992 Olympics.
All of those victories and achievements, which heightened UT's long-standing tenure among the nation's elite track and field programs, were obvious. Yet, the most important UT victory that Kearney was involved in occurred at the 1992 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin where the Longhorns managed to grab the top prize. The top prize didn't come in the form of a medal; it came in the form of Kearney herself.
Shortly after leading the University of Florida to a second-place finish at the 1992 NCAA Outdoor meet, Kearney, a Tampa, Fla., native, accepted then-Texas Athletic Director Jody Conradt's offer to become the fourth head coach in the history of the Texas women's track and field program. Ever since her arrival in Austin 13 years ago, Kearney's results have been stunning. Rather than Texas comparing itself to other successful track and field programs, Texas now sets the standard for excellence and comparison in the sport.
In addition to her coaching accomplishments, Kearney was a standout student-athlete as well. She began her career at Hillsborough (Fla.) Community College where she earned National Junior College All-America honors. She then moved to Auburn University where she claimed two AIAW All-America honors and was selected the Auburn Athlete of the Year and team MVP as a senior. In 1980, Kearney qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200m before closing out her career at Auburn in 1981 and earning a bachelor's degree in social work.
Kearney's Coaching Experience
Kearney's Overall Records & Achievements at Texas
Kearney has coached:
Individual Champions at Texas
LaKeisha Backus (1)
Michelle Carter (1)
Nichole Denby (1)
Merlene Frazer (2)
Destinee Hooker (2)
Marshevet Hooker (3)
Nanceen Perry (1)
Suziann Reid (5)
Sanya Richards (2)
Dana Riley (1)
Eileen Vanisi (2)
Angie Vaughn (2)
Telisa Young (2)
NCAA Relay Champions at Texas
NCAA Relay Champions at Florida
Individual Champions at Florida
Anita Howard (1)
Nekita Beasley (2)
Leah Kirklin (2)