University of Georgia hires national champion track and field coach

The University of Georgia Track and Field program will head into next season with a new leader, one fresh off of a 2021 NCAA Outdoor National Championship. 

The university's athletic director named Caryl Smith Gilbert Georgia’s Director of Men’s and Women’s Track and Field. She will be the first female head coach of a men's sports program in the history of Georgia Athletics.

Smith Gilbert recently led the University of Southern California women to the 2021 NCAA Outdoor National Championship and the men to a top-5 finish. The USC women's team has won two national championships in the last three championship appearances.

"I am thankful for the opportunity to lead the University of Georgia's Cross Country and Track & Field program," said Smith Gilbert. "Georgia combines elite athletics and academics with outstanding leadership, in a premier athletics conference. When I spoke to Josh [Brooks], I was immediately impressed with his vision and passion for Georgia Athletics and track and field. I’m thankful to President Morehead and Josh for leading the way, and opening doors for women and particularly women of color. It’s an honor to be Georgia’s first female head coach of a men’s sport. I firmly believe we can continue to build upon UGA's strong program."

The UGA women's track and field squad finished third at the NCAA championships this weekend while the men's team finished eighth in Eugene, Oregon. 

"It is a great day to be a Bulldog," Brooks said. "I am thrilled to welcome Caryl Smith Gilbert to the University of Georgia. She is a phenomenal coach, skilled motivator and strong leader who will make our entire program better. Caryl exudes energy and passion that resonates with student-athletes, recruits and colleagues. At UGA we aim to win championships in every sport, and she leads and coaches with the integrity, tenacity and toughness that aligns perfectly with our mission."

Smith Gilbert was a three-time All-American and Pac-10 champion sprinter at UCLA. 

Hours earlier, the university announced it would part ways with longtime head coach Petros Kyprianou. 

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