LAFAYETTE, LA -- One of the nation's most successful track and field coaches will shoulder the task of bringing UL's program back to prominence.
That's not just hyperbole. In Steve Silvey's case, the numbers speak volumes.
Silvey, the ultra-successful former track coach at Blinn College who has also served on the staffs at Arkansas, Oregon, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, has been hired as men's and women's track and field coach at UL.
Official announcement from the university is expected today. Silvey replaces Lance Veazey, who resigned earlier this month to accept a high school administrative position in Houston. Ironically, Veazey was an assistant under Silvey for two years at Blinn.
The 50-year-old Silvey has been part of 28 national championship teams, 13 while on the staff of UL alumnus John McDonnell at Arkansas and 15 in his seven years as head coach at Blinn. Since the Brenham, Texas, junior college discontinued its program, Silvey has been an assistant at some of the nation's top track programs.
"I like challenges in life," Silvey said Tuesday. "I told a recruit last night that if he checks my background, every place I've been I've been a winner. We just need a couple of years to get this thing turned around."
Silvey served the last three years as sprints and hurdles coach at Texas Tech, helping the Red Raiders win their first Big 12 Conference title in 2005. But that success isn't unique on his resume.
In all, he has coached 561 All-Americans, 28 World Championship entrants, 15 World Championship medalists and 34 Olympians. Prior to Texas Tech, he was an assistant for the storied Oregon program for two years and helped the Ducks win the Pac-10 Conference title for the first time in a dozen years.
Under McDonnell at Arkansas, Silvey helped the Razorbacks claim 17 SEC team titles, and his athletes won 15 All-America honors and 13 outdoor SEC individual titles.
Five times at Blinn, Silvey was the national junior college Coach of the Year, and his 1992 teams set records for most points scored in an indoor (288) and outdoor (263) national meet. He was inducted into the National Junior College Track and Field Hall of Fame two years ago.
He takes over a Cajun program that won 17 conference titles in a 12-year period that spanned the 1990s, but one that has struggled to evade the Sun Belt Conference cellar over the past few seasons. Silvey was intimately familiar with UL's earlier run of track success, since Blinn was a regular visitor to Cajun Track during its heyday.
That's part of the reason Silvey turned down the Arkansas State head job two weeks ago prior to accepting the UL position.
"Just knowing about the tradition of the past, what coach (Bob) Cole and coach (Charles) Lancon did, and knowing it had been a winner, that was important to me," Silvey said. "These people and a lot of others deserve to have a winning track program again."