One of the most recognizable coaches and administrators in American track and field is heading east to take on his latest project: Vin Lananna, the former head coach at Oregon, president of TrackTown USA and USATF, among other titles, was announced on Monday as the new director of track and field and cross country/associate athletics director for administration at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Lananna, 66, takes over for Bryan Fetzer, who led the Cavaliers from 2011 to his resignation in July.
UVA’s new boss brings an impressive coaching resume with him, one that includes 11 national titles split between his tenures at Stanford (1992-2003) and Oregon (2005-2012). Lananna has also served as the U.S. men’s track and field coach for the 2016 Olympics and 2011 IAAF World Championships.
His imprint on track and field has been felt beyond his achievements as a coach. Lananna has been instrumental in bringing track and field to a wider audience in the United States. Through the development of TrackTown USA, Lananna netted a series of major international championships held in Oregon— the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the upcoming 2021 IAAF World Championships.
“I have been fortunate to have worked with terrific leaders in the world of sport and in the world of business,” said Lananna in the UVA release. “Carla Williams’ (UVA athletics director) vision for UVA athletics is clear, bold and inspirational. I am humbled to join the incredible UVA coaching staff, the professional administrators and the Charlottesville community. I cannot wait to get started.”
Lananna’s recent exploits have not been without controversy, however. In February of 2018, he was put on “temporary administrative leave” while serving as the USATF president after the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into corruption related to the IAAF’s awarding of Eugene as the 2021 World Championships host.
Lananna, who was elected USA Track and Field president in 2016, had been in limbo ever since being put on administrative leave. That period of uncertainty seemingly came to a close today as Lananna will now turn his attention to building up the program at Virginia.