Buckeyes hire Beathea

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Last updated: 06/22/2012 1:13 AM

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Men's Track and Field
Buckeyes Hire Beathea as New Track Coach

By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — One of the stranger stories in the sports world this year has an ending.

Or a beginning, depending on how one looks at it.

The Ohio State University has hired Ed Beathea as the new head coach of the men’s track and field team, T.J. Shelton, associate athletics director for sport administration, announced Thursday.

“After a national search, Ed emerged as the search committee’s selection to be the next head coach,” Shelton said.

“I first want to thank Ed for serving as interim coach during the spring. Under his leadership, the team had some outstanding performances at the Big Ten and NCAA championships.”

Beathea, who served as associate head coach since 2006, had served as Ohio State’s interim head coach since April, when the University parted ways with longtime track and field/cross country coach Robert Gary.

A six-time Ohio State All-America runner and two-time Olympian, Gary had signed a three-year contract extension with Ohio State in July 2011, but left the school under a veil of secrecy.

To this day, no one seems to know for sure whether he resigned or was fired. If they do, they’re not talking. Gary’s only explanation is that he left Ohio State for personal reasons, but he was recently hired as the track and field/cross country coach at Furman University, a small liberal arts college in South Carolina.

A native of Elkhart, Ind. and graduate of Ball State University, Beathea was considered to be Gary’s top assistant coach for the last six seasons. He was named the 2010 and 2011 USTFCCCA Great Lakes Assistant Coach of the Year, while helping to build the Buckeye 4x400-meter relay team into a Midwestern juggernaut that has won seven of the last nine Big Ten titles.

“Ed articulated a vision committed to the overall development of our student-athletes in the classroom, in competition and in the community,” Shelton added.

“With support from alumni, current team members and a highly-ranked recruiting class, Ed has the intangibles to compete for conference championships and national prominence.”

Prior to joining the Buckeye coaching staff in 2006, Beathea spent 10 seasons coaching sprints and hurdles at Indiana University, the last four years as associate head coach. Before that, Beathea spent two years at Northern Arizona University.

He was also a graduate assistant at Ball State, where he holds school records in the 400-meter dash (indoor) and 4x400-meter relay.

Beathea becomes the eighth head coach in program history and will receive a 5-year contract to lead the Buckeyes.

“I am excited and ready to continue to lead this Buckeye team,” Beathea said.

“I have a great group of guys that are very motivated. I truly appreciate the opportunity Gene Smith, T.J. Shelton and the athletic department are providing me.”

Serving as interim head coach during the spring, Beathea led the Buckeyes to a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten outdoor championships with 86 team points. A total of 21 athletes qualified for the NCAA East Regional Preliminaries with 10 advancing to the NCAA championships.

Three Buckeyes – senior Matt DeChant (shot put), junior Cory Leslie (3000-meter steeplechase) and true freshman Antonio Blanks (400-meter hurdles) – were first team All-Americans.

Beathea's greatest accomplish in his time with the Buckeyes has been his work with All-Americans Thomas Murdaugh and Michael Hartfield. A relative unknown out of high school, Murdaugh, a four-time first team All-American, became one of the premier sprinters in the country thanks in large part to his training with Beathea.

Murdaugh captured a total of nine Big Ten titles and two USTFCCCA Great Lakes Track Athlete of the Year awards, as well as Big Ten Track Athlete of Year and Athlete of the Indoor Championship honors as a sophomore in 2010.

Hartfield, a three-time second team All-American, enjoyed two outstanding seasons with the Buckeyes after transferring from Rend Lake Junior College. He earned three Big Ten titles in the long jump and a pair of runner-up finishes in the triple jump to go along with USTFCCCA and Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year honors during the 2011 outdoor season.

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