Newell had served the last six seasons as an assistant coach for the track and field program at Michigan State. As an athlete, he was an All-American thrower at Georgia from 2002-05.
In his time with the Spartans, Newell had 24 NCAA championship qualifiers, 18 All-America honors and 46 regional event qualifiers. His athletes won nine Big Ten championships and recorded eight school records.
Newell's throwers enjoyed considerable individual success this past season. At the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships, Beth Rohl took second in the women's weight throw, and Antonio James pulled off the same feat on the men's side. At the outdoor meet, Rohl placed third in discus. The year before, Rohl also made the discus finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
In 2011, Newell was named the Great Lakes Region Women's Assistant Coach of the Year.
Newell started his college career in his home town at Sacramento City College, where he was a USA Junior Team member in 2001 and the school's athlete of the year in 2002. He moved on to the Georgia, where he was a six-time NCAA qualifier and earned All-America honors in the shot put at the 2005 national indoor meet.
He graduated from UGA in 2005 with a degree in sociology.
Following his college career, Newell continued training in the hammer throw at Ashland University under the watch of four-time Olympian Jud Logan. While there, he realized he wanted to join the coaching ranks himself. He joined the Michigan State staff in 2007.