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UK hires new track coach who has roots in Kentucky and SEC.

UK introduces Lonnie Greene as new track coach

Lonnie Greene, who led Purdue to historic success the past six seasons, was named the new track and field and cross country coach at Kentucky on Tuesday.
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Lonnie Greene, who led Purdue to historic success the past six seasons, was named the new track and field and cross country coach at Kentucky on Tuesday.

Nearly three weeks after he lost his highly accomplished track and field coach to Texas, Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart found a new man for the job.

Lonnie Greene, who led Purdue to historic success the past six seasons, was named the new track and field and cross country coach at Kentucky on Tuesday. He replaces Edrick Floreal, who left for the head coaching job at Texas after six years at UK.

"Lonnie will bring the same integrity to our program that he did in establishing Purdue as a contender on a national level," Barnhart said in a news release. "He has a championship mentality honed over the many seasons he spent in our conference at Arkansas, as well as a focus on helping the young people he leads grow as students."

Among his achievements at Purdue, Greene most recently guided the women’s track and field team to an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in June. His Purdue women's team also captured the 2017 Big Ten Outdoor Championships for the first time since 1999.

In 2016, the Purdue men's team had its second best finish in school history at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships since 1972, coming in 13th. Greene brings Southeastern Conference experience with him to UK. Before his run at Purdue, Greene spent 16 years as an assistant at Arkansas.

"I look forward to hitting the ground running building winning teams in the classroom and on the track," Greene said in UK's news release. "I can't wait to start leading this great program."

Beyond his ties to the SEC, Greene previously spent time in Kentucky earning his bachelor's degree from Murray State in 1989.

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Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, left, posed with Lonnie Greene during Tuesday's introductory news conference for UK's new track and field head coach at Kroger Field. Mark Mahan

Greene, whose full name is Rolando, was honored as the Women's Head Coach of the Year in the Great Lakes Region three separate times in the past two years by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. He was recognized twice for outdoors and once last year for indoors.

The Purdue women's team achieved its highest-ever ranking and NCAA finish over the past two seasons. He coached the reigning Big Ten Athlete of the Year in senior Devynne Charlton who finished second only to UK's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn in the 100-meter hurdles last month.

In six seasons at Purdue, Greene coached 21 different athletes who combined for 60 First-Team All-America honors. His teams have also earned USTFCCCA Academic All-America honors.

Greene had several roles as an assistant for the women's program at Arkansas, serving as associate head coach in charge of sprints, hurdles, horizontal jumps and multi events from 2000-2012. He was named USTFCCCA South Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in his last two years at Arkansas. He gained national recognition in 2004 when he was named National Assistant Coach of the Year.

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New UK track and field coach Lonnie Greene received a baton with his name on it during his introductory news conference at Kroger Field last week. Mark Mahan

He began his coaching career as a men's and women's assistant at Missouri State from 1991-95, and moved to an assistant coaching job with the Minnesota women's program in 1995-96. Greene has mentored eight Olympians throughout his time as a college coach.

A native of Nassau, Bahamas, Greene is married to LaTayna Stewart and has a daughter, three sons and two grandchildren.

Greene takes over a UK women's track and field program that Floreal turned into a national power in addition to men's track and a cross country program both on solid footing.

Shortly before leaving UK, Floreal coached the UK women to a fourth-place finish and the men to 16th place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Mitch Barnhart proud, not content with Kentucky's place in athletics nationally.

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