The Michigan State track and field team lost a valuable member of their staff recently. Sprints and hurdles coach Randy Gillon returned to the University of Illinois, his alma mater, as assistant head coach of track and field.
“He was a great addition to our program, and did a great job while he was here,” head coach Walt Drenth said. “We’re going to miss him, but this is an opportunity for both parties to grow.”
Gillon joined the Spartans in 2007 and immediately started racking up the numbers. In his eight years as sprints and hurdles coach, Gillon produced nine NCAA Championship qualifiers, 30 NCAA Regional qualifiers and 18 school records.
Recent successes came in 2013 when the MSU women’s 4×400 meter relay team qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championship for the first time since 1983.
Jibril Mims is a junior sprinter who has worked with Gillon as his coach for the past three years. He said that Gillon’s devotion to the sport and his athletes made him a great coach.
“I’ve literally never seen anyone more devoted towards track and field like him. He honestly would breathe, eat and sleep the sport,” Mims said. “I liked knowing I had a coach who was fully committed.”
Mims added that while the team is upset that he is leaving, returning to his alma mater as a head coach was very special for Gillon.
“The team and I were pretty befuddled when he told us he was leaving, but it was for a very plausible cause,” Mims said. “It wasn’t easy for him, but I was really happy for him because he’s steadily moving up the ladder to his dream career.”
The MSU track and field team is in the process of looking for a new sprints and hurdles coach before the season officially starts in January 2015.
Alexa McCarthy is the host the Last Leg for Impact Sports.
Photo: Alexa McCarthy/Impact Sports