Robert Gary to lead USA men at world championship
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 09/19/2019
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Furman head coach Robert Gary
Courtesy: Furman Athletics

GREENVILLE, S.C. Furman cross country/track and field head coach Robert Gary will serve as the Team USA men’s head coach for the 2019 IAAF World Championship, which will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 6 in Doha, Qatar.

“I am very humbled, honored, and privileged to be serving as the head men’s coach for Team USA at the World Championships,” said Gary.  “The only drawback is missing two weeks of what I know is going to be a very special season for our cross country teams, but I take great comfort in our terrific staff and know preparations will continue towards both teams defending our conference titles, advancement to the NCAA Championships, and our highest finishes in program history.”

Eight reigning world champions and 13 Rio Olympic gold medalists will lead 141 athletes on Team USA.  Representing the U.S. in the delegation, which was announced this week, are 55 Olympians including 26 Olympic medalists that have a combined 44 Olympic medals, as well as 78 previous World Championships team members with a total of 65 medals.

Reigning world champions Tori Bowie, Kori Carter, Emma Coburn, Phyllis Francis, Justin Gatlin, Sam Kendricks, Brittney Reese and Christian Taylor received byes while 2019 Diamond League champions Noah Lyles (200m). Ajee Wilson (800m) and Michael Norman (400m) also received byes thereby permitting Team USATF to add to Kenny Bednarek, Ce’Aira Brown and Vernon Norwood.

Gary, who is in his eighth season at the held of the Paladin program, has established himself as a one of the nation’s elite coaches.  A 12-time Southern Conference Coach of the Year for men’s and women’s cross country programs combined, Gary, the 2017 Southeast Region Cross Country Coach of the Year, led the Paladins to their sixth-consecutive SoCon cross country titles in 2018.  Senior Aaron Templeton, the 2018 SoCon Cross Country Runner of the Year, placed fifth at the NCAA Championships, the highest finish in the history of the Paladin men’s program.  

Under Gary’s tutelage, ten Furman athletes in a cumulative 14 events, the most in program history, ran at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor East Preliminaries, with five runners in six events advancing through to the NCAA Championships. All five earned All-American citations, including Adams in the 1,500m, Krissy Gear in the 3,000m Steeplechase and Gabbi Jennings, who led the Furman contingency with a ninth-place finish in the Steeplechase.  Templeton earned an All-American award in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, while Frank Lara added All-American accolades in the 10,000m.  Jennings went on to represent Team USA in the 3,000m Steeplechase at the 2019 North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) Championships in Queretaro, Mexico.

In his previous roles with USA Track & Field, Gary, a two-time Olympian in the 3,000m Steeplechase, has been actively involved in preparing Team USA for international competition.  He coached the USA senior men’s team to a runner-up finish and a silver medal at the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, marking the highest Team USA finish in history.  In 2010, Gary served as the men’s distance coach for Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.  He was also the head coach for the USA junior team at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain, and was also USA’s U-23 distance coach at the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) meet in Toluca, Mexico.

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