NCAA All-American Kelly Carter Named Cross Country and Track and Field Head Coach
Georgia Southern University Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein announced the hiring of Kelly Carter as the Eagles’ new Cross Country and Track and Field Head Coach. The three-time All-American and all-SEC selection brings a combination of experience as a world-class athlete and as a veteran coach to the Eagle program. Carter has more than 15 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level as well as serving as a coach for the U.S. Paralympic Games following an outstanding career as a competitor.
“A veteran coach and former world-class athlete, Kelly Carter will convert the potential of our Eagle cross country and track and field programs to a higher level of success,” said Kleinlein. “His commitment to his student-athletes and their performances both in competition and in the classroom is in alignment with our mission of ‘rings and diplomas.’ We are excited to have him join our department and help our Eagles become leaders in the Sun Belt Conference.”
Carter comes to Georgia Southern after three years as an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee State, working primarily with the Blue Raider sprinters and hurdlers. His student-athletes recorded more than 60 individual personal bests during the 2013-14 indoor and outdoor seasons. Prior to joining the MTSU staff, he served for 11 years as the head coach of the Men’s Track and Field program at Tennessee State from 2000-2011.
During his tenure in Nashville, Tennessee, more than 40 Tigers were crowned Ohio Valley Conference champions including Nick Horton, Chris Howell and Buford Williams winning multiple events or posting back-to-back titles. Horton was named a two-time athlete of the year for the OVC Indoor Championships and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the No. 16 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, was selected as OVC Indoor Championship MVP in 2007. Rodgers-Cromartie is the current starting cornerback for the New York Giants.
Joining the coaching ranks as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Auburn, he spent two years under the tutelage of longtime Tiger coaching greats Mel Rosen and Ralph Spry. He was part of the staff for Auburn’s fourth place NCAA finish in 1999 and third-place finish in 2000. Carter brought a combination of first-hand experience and love for the sport to his new profession, less than a decade after he earned distinction for the Tigers as a three-time NCAA All-American, four-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and two-time Penn Relay champion. The 1999 SEC champion in the 400m Hurdles, he would capture third place in the NCAA Championships that same year.
His experiences at elite international competitions also provided a foundation for both his racing and coaching success. A member of the U.S. Junior National team, he traveled to Cuba and Vancouver, Canada, prior to beginning his freshman year at Auburn. Recording the fifth-best 400m Hurdle and sixth-best 110m Hurdle times in Tiger history in his first outdoor season, Carter participated in the 1988 Olympic Trials in the 400m Hurdles, advancing to the quarterfinals. He competed at the Indy trials for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team against the likes of eventual gold medalist Andre Phillips and bronze medalist Edwin Moses. Carter also represented the United States at the Junior World Championships in Sudbury, Ontario, later that summer and claimed the gold medal in the 400m intermediate hurdles. His time of 49.50 was more than a full second faster than his nearest competitor.
The Atlanta native was a standout at Southwest DeKalb High School, setting numerous school, county and state records. His 110-meter state record stood for more than a decade before being broken by Terrance Tremmell, followed shortly by his 300-meter state record falling to Angelo Taylor. Both record-breaking student-athletes graduated from Southwest DeKalb and went on to win medals in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Carter earned his bachelor of science degree in communications from Auburn and his Master’s in sports administration from Tennessee State. He is married to the former Angie Johnson, an Auburn All-American as a member of the Tigers’ 4x100m Relay team. They have two children, Kyle and Haley.
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