Beth Alford-Sullivan is in her third season as the director of track and field and cross country at the University of Tennessee. Overall, Tennessee has claimed three NCAA Champions, 10 SEC Champions, 27 SEC Medals and 54 All-American honors during Alford-Sullivan's first two seasons on Rocky Top.
THE ALFORD-SULLIVAN FILE
- 1991-1993: Southeast Missouri State, Assistant
- 1993-95: Mankato State, Head Coach
- 1995-99: Stanford, Women's Coordinator
- 1999-06: Penn State, Women's Team Head Coach
- 2006-14: Penn State, Director of Track and Field/Cross Country
- 2014-Present: Tennessee, Director of Track and Field/Cross Country
BY THE NUMBERS
- 8 NCAA Individual Champions
- 212 NCAA All-Americans
- 32 Coach of the Year Awards
- 10 SEC Individual Champions
- 27 SEC Individual Medals
- 9 Big 10 Team Titles
- 88 Big 10 Individual Champions
- 19 Big 10 Champion Relays
- Malindi Elmore (1500m, 2004 Athens)
- Consuella Moore (4x100m, 2004 Athens)
- Toyin Augustus (100m Hurdles, 2008 Beijing)
- Dominique Blake (4x400m, 2008 Beijing)
- Kirsten Nieuwendam (200m, 2008 Beijing/2012 London)
- Shana Cox (400m & 4x400m, 2012 London)
- Bridget Franek (3000m Steeplechase, 2012 London)
- Darrell Hill (Shot Put, 2016 Rio)
- Joe Kovacs* (Shot Put, 2016 Rio)
- Tavis Bailey (Discus, 2016 Rio)
- Christian Coleman (4x100m, 2016 Rio)
- Kali Davis-White (200m, 2016 Rio)
- Beth Alford-Sullivan (Team USA Coach, 2004 Athens)
* - Kovacs won the silver medal
Alford-Sullivan led the Vols to three individual national titles during the 2016 season. Jake Blankenship cleared 5.60 meters (18-4.50) to win the men's pole vault NCAA Outdoor Championship, the first men's outdoor national champion since 2006. Christian Coleman set a Tennessee outdoor school record in the 100 meters with a 10.03 (+1.6) in the NCAA semifinal, and then claimed silver in the finals of both the 100m and 200m. During the indoor season, Coleman and Felicia Brown earned national championships in the 200m. With Coleman's and Brown's national titles, Tennessee became the first school in NCAA Indoor Track and Field history to win both men's 200 meters and the women's 200 meters at the same championship meet.
Coleman earned USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Men's National Athlete of the Week honors and was the Men's SEC Indoor Runner of the Year Award. Brown was the 2016 USTFCCCA South Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year for both the indoor and outdoor seasons as well as the 2016 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Women's Co-Runner of the Year. In addition to the Indoor 200m National Championship she also claimed titles at SEC Indoors and SEC Outdoors.
Chelsea Blaase claimed the indoor SEC Championship in both the 3000m and 5000m events which tied her for the meet's highest scorer. She also won the outdoor SEC Championship in the 10,000m event and took second in the 5000m. Blaase finished as the runner up in the SEC Cross Country championship before winning the NCAA South Regional and finishing 14th at the NCAA Championship.
The men's team was named the 2016 USTFCCCA DI Track and Field Scholar Team of the Year for both the 2016 indoor and outdoor seasons. The UT women garnered All-Academic team honors and 11 Vols were named All-Academic Individuals.
During Alford-Sullivan's first season in charge of the Vols track and field program Tavis Bailey earned a national-runner up spot in the discus at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championship. Cameron Brown won the SEC title in the weight throw as Bailey took second.
During the 2014 cross country season, Blaase finished third at the SEC Championship, second at the NCAA South Regional and took 10th in the national championship as she was an All-American during the cross country, indoor and outdoor seasons.
Prior to coming to Tennessee, Sullivan spent 15 seasons at Penn State, including the last eight as the director and head coach of a combined men's and women's program. Sullivan originally joined Penn State in the fall of 1999 as the head coach of the women's track and field program.
Alford-Sullivan has a tremendous record of success at Penn State, including the women's team finishing the 2013-14 season ranked as the No. 6 Track & Field and Cross Country program in the nation by the USTFCCCA. Her tenure has produced nine Big Ten team championships, including the women's program capturing its fifth Big Ten outdoor championship (fifth in the last seven years) and second consecutive this May. Penn State won eight Big Ten championships overall in 2013-14 (including one team and seven individual), equaling the school record set the year before. Sullivan was named the Big Ten Women's Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, her fifth overall Big Ten Coach of the Year outdoor honor. She has earned nine overall Coach of the Year accolades at Penn State.
The Nittany Lions sent 38 competitors to the NCAA First Round this year, 15 of whom qualified for the NCAA Championships. Four Penn State competitors earned All-America honors at the NCAA Championships, bringing the total during Sullivan's tenure to 158 (116 women and 42 men). In 2010, Penn State's women's program ranked third in the annual Program of the Year standings, trailing only Oregon and Florida.
In addition to the 158 All-Americans, the litany of accomplishments under Sullivan's leadership at Penn State includes nine Big Ten team titles, 88 Big Ten individual champions, 19 Big Ten Champion relays, and four individual NCAA champions. The Nittany Lions have also won one NCAA Champion relay, one Big Ten "Triple Crown," eight Big Ten Championship records, and five Big Ten Athletes of the Year.
The Penn State women's program has scored in the last 12 NCAA Outdoor Championships as well as in 11 of the last 12 NCAA Indoor Championships. The squad has also recorded two "trophy team" finishes in the last five years, placing fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2008 and 2010.
The Nittany Lion men's program finished in the top 25 in the seven consecutive NCAA track and field competitions. The 2013 indoor team finished ninth nationally and played 11th at the 2011 NCAA Indoors. The 2010-11 men's program also finished 11th in the "John McDonnell Program of the Year" standings, honoring overall combined program excellence between the cross country, indoor, and outdoor seasons.
Excellence in the classroom has also been a staple under Sullivan at Penn State, as the women's team has earned United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic honors in each of her 14 seasons at Penn State. In 2010, they were named the USTFCCCA Scholar Team of the Year. The Nittany Lions also piled up numerous All-Big Ten academic honors. The men's and women's programs both posted GPAs over 3.0 during recent fall semesters.
One of the most impressive seasons during Sullivan's tenure was in 2012, when the Nittany Lions featured 12 First Team All-Americans and set multiple school records. The men's 4x400-meter relay squad finished second in the NCAA Indoor Championships, the highest finish in that event in school history, while setting and subsequently breaking the school record several times, last at 3:05.22. The team also set the relay school record of 3:01.52 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2012.
The 2011-12 campaign also featured eight individual Big Ten champions and two conference champion relays. The cross country squad also finished 13th in 2011-12, the highest finish for the program in almost two decades.
Overall in Big Ten competition during her time at Penn State, Sullivan has seen her women competitors claim 50 individual conference titles as well as 13 relay wins over the past 11 years. Additionally, the men have won 21 individual titles under Sullivan and two relay wins. Since 2003, the Penn State women's program has finished no less than fourth in the overall team standings.
Sullivan, 48, joined Penn State after five seasons at Stanford, where she coached more than 30 NCAA All-American athletes and one NCAA individual champion as the women's coordinator for the Cardinal track program. Sullivan was also the head coach at Mankato State from 1993-95 and an assistant at Southeast Missouri State from 1991-93. She graduated with a degree in social work in 1989 from the University of Minnesota, where she competed in cross country and track and field, serving as captain of the cross country team from her sophomore through her senior seasons.
Sullivan's husband, Jim, serves as a volunteer assistant with the Tennessee track and field team.