Jerry Clayton named 12th men’s track and field coach in program history

By Greg Garno, Daily Sports Writer
Published July 15, 2013

The Michigan athletic department named Jerry Clayton as the newest men’s track and field coach Monday, roughly one month after former coach Fred LaPlante retired.

Clayton, the former assistant coach of the Auburn men’s and women’s track and field teams for 15 years, becomes the 12th head coach in Michigan’s program history.

“Jerry brings a wealth of experience as an assistant and head coach at the highest levels of collegiate track and field,” said Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon in a statement. “Jerry has achieved success at every program he has been associated with during his extensive coaching career.

“Jerry’s leadership will aid us in the development of our program and help position us to compete for Big Ten championships on a regular basis.”

Clayton takes over a program that qualified five individuals for the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field championships and finished 44th. The Wolverines finished runner-up at the NCAA indoor championships and third at the outdoor championships in 2009, both program bests, but have not finished better than 33rd since.

Clayton’s experience in field events and sprints is expected to complement a strong distance corps as of late. Men’s cross country coach, Mike McGuire, will continue to coach the distance group and Mohamad Saatara will coach weight events.

“My wife and I are excited to represent the University of Michigan and to return to competition in the Big Ten Conference,” Clayton said in a statement to the athletic department. “Michigan is an elite athletic and academic institution that offers a strong track and field tradition.

“I’m excited about the potential that exists for the men’s track and field team and look forward to getting to work building the next generation of student-athletes.”

Clayton most notably led the Tigers to the 2006 NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field championship and has coached 16 NCAA individual champions. He has also produced 33 combined participants in the Olympic games and other world championship competitions, 39 international team competitors and 24 qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

The Auburn women’s track and field team took 23rd place overall at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June, while the men were 37th.

Clayton’s résumé also includes training 85 NCAA All-Americans, 112 individual conference champions and 155 qualifiers for the NCAA Track and Field Championships.

Before he was an assistant coach at Florida for three years, Clayton was the head coach at Southwest Texas State from 1989 to 1994. The Bobcats won four Southland Conference championships under Clayton, including the program’s first men’s outdoor title in 1993.

Clayton helped lead Illinois to seven Big Ten titles, three top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships and a second-place finish at the 1988 NCAA Indoor Championships. He is an alumni of Illinois where he was a two-time NCAA Championship qualifier in the shot put.