Floreal heads to Kentucky | July 13, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 13, 2012

Floreal heads to Kentucky

Cardinal track coach returns to roots in SEC after Olympic stopover

First it was men's swim coach Skip Kenney, who retired after 33 years. Then it was women's swim coach Lea Maurer, who resigned after seven years to devote more time to her family.

Edrick Floreal, who has served as Stanford's Director of Track and Field for the past eight seasons, joined the list of former Cardinal coaches after he resigned this week to accept the head coaching position at the University of Kentucky.

Floreal was hired as an assistant coach at Stanford in 1998 and was appointed head coach in 2005.

"Coach Floreal has been a tremendous contributor to Stanford Track and Field/Cross Country as well as the broader Stanford Athletics community," said Interim Director of Athletics Patrick Dunkley. "He will certainly be missed and I wish him well in at the University of Kentucky."

Before heading to Kentucky, Floreal will be coaching the decathlon team and will be the jumps coach for the U.S. Olympic track and field team at the London Games.

Floreal, a graduate from the University of Arkansas, will lead six sports programs at Kentucky, including men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor track and field, along with men's and women's outdoor track and field.

"Edrick has found success in every step of his career, both on the track and in the classroom," said Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky's Director of Athletics. "He knows the SEC both as a student-athlete and as a coach, he has ties that span the country and he has developed student-athletes to compete on the national level and global level. His passion in the classroom is something we take great pride in at Kentucky, and we look forward to opening our new outdoor track and field facility under Edrick's direction."

Floreal, who is the first new track and field head coach in 28 years for the Wildcats, returns to Kentucky after serving as an assistant for the Wildcats during the 1996-98 seasons. Floreal left after the 1998 season for Stanford.

"I am very excited to return to Kentucky and guide this program into a new era of success," Floreal said. "I am certain that with the support of the administration and the Wildcat community, we can accomplish great things. The new outdoor track and field facility provides the perfect venue to accomplish the many goals I have for UK. My wife and I are looking forward to being back in the SEC, competing against the best in track and field and taking part in the new rise of champions at Kentucky. The potential is limitless and I am excited to join the Big Blue Nation as part of the Wildcat Family."

Floreal graduated from Arkansas in 1990. While a student-athlete for the Razorbacks, he captured five NCAA triple jump titles and four NCAA team championships. He also competed for Canada at the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympic Games.

Floreal is married to LaVonna Martin-Floreal, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist in the 100-meter hurdles. The couple has two children, Palo Alto High basketball/track standout Edrick Jr. (EJ) and Mikaielle.

Since his arrival at Stanford, the Cardinal men and women have enjoyed tremendous success at the conference and NCAA championship level. A five-time MPSF Coach of the Year, the 2009 West Regional Indoor Coach of the Year and the 2006 West Regional Outdoor Coach of the Year, Floreal has developed the Stanford sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers into Pac-12 and NCAA Championship title contenders. Under his watch, 91 Stanford athletes have earned 197 All-America honors.

Floreal led the Cardinal men and women to a combined seven top-10 NCAA finishes during the outdoor season and another seven indoors.

In addition to the team accomplishments on the track, Floreal oversaw a cross-country program that is among the nation's elite. The Cardinal women won three NCAA titles under his watch, while the men have placed in the top five in three of the past four seasons.

Floreal's vast technical knowledge in the sprints, hurdles and jumps, and his experience as a world-class athlete benefited several athletes to outstanding individual accomplishments in a wide variety of events.

At Stanford, Floreal has coached Pac-12 and NCAA Champions in his specific event groups, including hurdler Amaechi Morton this season. Morton won the 400-meter hurdles at both the Pac-12 and NCAA Championships and will compete for Nigeria at the Olympics this summer.


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