Bill Webb's impact on Tennessee track and field is clearly understood with a single walk through the hallways of the program's offices. On display are four Southeastern Conference championships and two NCAA titles won on Webb's watch. In addition there are photos of numerous NCAA individual champions and All-America honorees, many of whom garnered collegiate sports' greatest individual acclaim more than once.
It has been 14 seasons since Webb took over Tennessee track and field, and many of the program's proudest moments have occurred within that span.
Most recently, the 2008 Vols produced an NCAA champion, 15 All-Americas, six SEC champions and a new school record holder en route to top-5 finishes at the SEC Indoor and Outdoor Championships and the NCAA Indoor meet.
Behind the leadership of Webb, Tennessee scored 129.5 points and claimed the 2007 SEC outdoor title to give UT its SEC-leading 25th outdoor conference championship. Tennessee's performance led to Webb being recognized as the SEC and co-South District Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2007.
Webb became the first Tennessee coach to win back-to-back NCAA titles after following up the 2001 NCAA outdoor crown with the 2002 indoor championship. He also became the only person to coach an NCAA and world champion decathlete in the same year, as Stephen Harris and Tom Pappas turned the trick in 2003. Webb's Tennessee teams have also been selected USTCA dual meet champions 10 times since 1991.
Individually, Volunteers continue to stack up NCAA and SEC championship and All-America honors at a dizzying pace under the 14th-year coach. Tennessee keeps adding to its prestige as a training ground for elite athletes, including Olympic and world champions.
The total number of athletes to earn track and field All-America honors is 81, and many of those competitors have multiple certificates to their name. The 2008 Olympics were also a good place to run into a former Volunteer as five were in competition in Beijing, China, over the summer. Two former Vols were at an Olympic Games for the second time, and one was competing in his third Olympiad.
The track and field program has also provided fertile ground for academic growth under the supervision of Webb. As recently as the spring of 2008, 18 track and field/cross country Vols posted GPAs of 3.0 or better while 16 were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Since Webb was named head coach in 1996, Tennessee leads the conference with 197 selections to the SEC Academic Honor Roll for track and field/cross country, including 15 in 2008.
Webb has tutored the last four SEC decathlon champions, as Chris Helwick claimed the title in 2005 and 2006 and Jangy Addy added the 2007 and 2008 decathlon championship to his two indoor heptathlon titles. Including Addy's two All-America certificates and Michael Ayers' 12th-place finish in 2008, Webb has coached Volunteer decathletes to 11 total All-America certificates in the heptathlon and decathlon since 2005. Addy now ranks fifth in school history in the decathlon with his score of 5,836 from the SEC Championships. Helwick's mark of 5,917 is still tops in school history. Both Addy and Helwick went on to win gold and silver medals at the USA Junior Championships that year.
Webb athletes have rewritten the top-10 lists at Tennessee. For a career, his numbers by event are remarkable, coaching 26 athletes over the 7,250 mark in the decathlon and five athletes over the 8,000 mark. He has also coached nine shot putters beyond 60 feet and 13 high jumpers over seven feet. Senior Richard Wooten ranks fifth on both the weight and hammer throw lists while fellow senior Nick Panezich is 10th and ninth on those lists, respectively. Panezich was the first Vol to ever qualify for the Mideast Regional in three different individual events during the 2007 outdoor season. He repeated the feat in 2008. Senior Matthew Maloney is sixth on Tennessee's all-time list in the javelin.
A glance back to the earlier years of Webb's tenure at Tennessee shows that success has not just been a recent phenomenon. In 2004, Webb coached javelin thrower Leigh Smith to a school-record mark of 267-11, a third-place finish at the Olympic trials and his third SEC javelin title with a meet-record throw.
Just a season earlier, the U.S. Olympic Committee took notice of his teaching successes, naming Webb its National Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2003. He was selected from a national pool of the top U.S. collegiate and professional coaches from all levels.
The Tennessee mentor led the Vols to consecutive NCAA titles with the 2001 outdoor and 2002 indoor championships, the first coach in the program's proud history to accomplish the feat. The 2002 NCAA indoor title marked the first ever indoor championship for Tennessee.
Up and down the line in 2002, the Vols never faltered, with individuals performing better than their rank entering the meet to add crucial points and lock up Tennessee's first NCAA indoor championship. As testament to his steady captaining of the Vol ship, Tennessee's mentor earned National Indoor Coach of the Year and South Region Indoor Coach of the Year honors by the U.S. Track Coaches Association. Later in the outdoor season, Webb's guidance of the Volunteers resulted in the capture of the school's second consecutive and 24th overall SEC outdoor title.
In 2001, Webb skillfully directed underdog Tennessee to its third NCAA outdoor title and 23rd SEC outdoor title with an emphasis on teamwork and overachievement at crunch time. As any avid college track fan knows, winning the SEC title is sometimes harder than placing tops in the NCAA. Webb's Vols began their 2001 outdoor title double by breaking one of collegiate track's greatest dynasties with a final-day point flurry that outdistanced Arkansas and the rest of Tennessee's conference foes at the SEC outdoors.
With Tennessee's SEC outdoor titles in 2001 and 2002, Webb became the only conference coach to defeat Arkansas at the SEC championships since the Razorbacks joined in 1992 -- and he's done it four times. Webb also led the Vols to the 1996 SEC indoor title. Florida's 2004 indoor title is the only conference championship not won by Tennessee or Arkansas since 1992.
Webb garnered deserved acclaim as the U.S. Track Coaches Association's National Coach of the Year for his leadership of the Vols during the 2001 campaign. In 2001, Webb also earned SEC Outdoor Coach of the Year honors and South Region Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Year.
Meanwhile, Webb had ample opportunity to build an international coaching resume as he was chosen by USA Track and Field to serve as head coach for the U.S. decathletes in a summer 2001 dual meet versus Germany. He also served as an assistant coach at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba and the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
For nine years before he took the head coaching reins, Webb was an integral part of the Vols' track and field success as assistant head coach and head field events coach. The nationally renowned field events teacher was named Tennessee's 14th head coach in the summer of 1995. It didn't take him long to taste success after his selection as head man for the Vols. During his first two seasons at the helm of the Tennessee track and field program, Webb captured the 1996 SEC indoor championship, 1996 District Indoor Coach of the Year and 1996 SEC Indoor Coach of the Year honors.
Webb's success did not begin at Tennessee, where he helped coach the Vols to eight top-five national indoor and outdoor finishes as an assistant coach from 1991-95, including NCAA and SEC titles in 1991. Prior to Tennessee, he coached on staffs at Florida, Southern Illinois and Indiana, which collectively captured nine conference titles during his tenure.
Equally impressive is the proliferation of individual honors garnered by athletes under his tutelage. At Tennessee alone, he has personally coached 13 NCAA champions, 81 Division I All-Americas and 52 SEC champions. He produced a total of 51 Division II All-Americas while at Cal State Northridge and West Georgia College. He has also coached a total of 36 Olympic Trials competitors since 1984, as well as personally instructing athletes at four Olympic Games and seven world championship meets.
Webb coached 2003 heptathlon and decathlon world champion Tom Pappas to a PR of 8,784 and a spot on two U.S. Olympic teams. NCAA champion decathletes Brian Brophy, Aric Long and Stephen Harris are other highly decorated Webb products, boasting career bests of 8,276, 8,236 and 8,103, respectively.
Webb and former volunteer coach Jim Bemiller coached Tim Mack and Lawrence Johnson to lofty heights in the pole vault. Mack, an NCAA champion, won the gold medal with an Olympic-record clearance of 19-6 1/4 to highlight a 2004 dream season. Johnson, the former pole vault American record holder and four-time NCAA champion, went on to take the 2000 Olympic silver medal and 2001 world indoor championship. Webb also tutored Tom Petranoff, former world record holder in the javelin, and Bob Roggy, a past American record holder.
He is also a well-published author on track and field techniques, plyometrics and strength training. Active at the USATF level, Webb served as the USATF Javelin Coordinator from 1984-99.
A native of Greenbelt, Md., Webb was an all-conference hurdler and team captain at High Point University in the early 1970s. Webb and Minnesota basketball coach Tubby Smith comprised half of High Point's school-record shuttle hurdle relay team, a mark that still stands today. Webb also played guard on High Point's basketball team for two seasons, helping the Panthers to a runner-up national finish in 1968. He graduated with a B.S. degree in physical education at High Point before earning his M.S. degrees in recreation (1973) and physical education (1974) from Indiana University.
Webb also continued to compete at the national level in the decathlon. He earned USTFF All-America honors and finished fourth as a guest in the 1976 Canadian Olympic Trials.
Webb began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Indiana before moving on to take the head coaching position at West Georgia in 1973 where he was named the league's coach of the year in each of his two seasons there. He had assistant coaching stops at Florida (1975-76) and Southern Illinois (1976-78) before beginning a seven-year stint as head coach at Cal State Northridge in 1979. Webb was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association's Coach of the Year in 1985, and his teams finished in the top eight every year in the NCAA Division II meet.
Webb is married to the former Patricia Hill. They have a son, Kevin, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in computer science at the University of California-San Diego. Kevin recently married the former Melissann Herron.
|THE BILL WEBB FILE|
|High Point High School - Beltsville, Md.|
|B.S., Physical Education - High Point University, 1971|
|M.S., Recreation - High Point University, 1973|
|M.S., Physical Education - Indiana University, 1974|
|Athletic Career and Honors|
|High Point University, 1968-71|
|All-Conference, Team Captain, School Record Holder|
|Florida Track Club, 1972-76|
|USTFF Decathlon All-America|
|Guest Competitor- Decathlon at the Canadian Olympic Trials, 1976 (Fourth Place)|
|Graduate Assistant - Indiana, 1971-72|
|Head Coach - West Georgia, 1973-75|
|Assistant Coach - Florida, 1975-76|
|Assistant Coach - Southern Illinois, 1976-78|
|Head Coach - Cal State Northridge, 1979-85|
|Assistant Head Coach - Tennessee, 1986-95|
|Head Coach - Tennessee, 1996-Present|
|South Atlantic Coach of the Year, 1973, 1974|
|District Coach of the Year, 1975|
|California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year, 1985|
|U.S. Assistant Coach, Pan Am American Games, 1991|
|U.S. Assistant Coach, World Championships, 1993|
|District Indoor Coach of the Year, 1996|
|SEC Indoor Coach of the Year, 1996|
|NCAA National Outdoor Coach of the Year, 2001|
|SEC Outdoor Coach of the Year, 2001, 2007|
|NCAA South Region Indoor/Outdoor Coach of the Year, 2001|
|NCAA South District Outdoor Coach of the Year, 2007|
|U.S. Head Coach, USA vs. Germany Decathlon, 2001|
|NCAA National Indoor Coach of the Year, 2002|
|NCAA South Region Indoor Coach of the Year, 2002|
|USOC National Track and Field Coach of the Year, 2003|
|Penn Relays Honorary College Referee, 2005|