The University of Kentucky athletic department took a big hit today, as it appears that track and field coach Edrick Floreal will be leaving Kentucky to coach the Texas Longhorns.
After six seasons at Kentucky, Floreal has turned the track and field program into one of the best in the nation. He has had athletes receive 142 All-American honors, win 37 SEC event championships, and win 12 NCAA event championships including victories by Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Sydney McLaughlin this year.
Shortly after the news broke, UK athletics Director Mitch Barnhart issued the following statement:
“We are grateful to Edrick for his work leading our program and wish him well. We believe the success Kentucky track and field and cross country have seen in recent years is just a glimpse of what’s to come. A national search for our next head coach will begin immediately. Our focus in this search will remain on our student-athletes and their growth as people and competitors.”
Under Floreal, the women’s track and field team finished in the top four of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships for the fourth time. Three of those occurrences took place in the last four years, including a second place finish in 2015.
The women’s program also finished third in the NCAA Indoor Championships this year, the best finish in school history.
The men’s team finished 16th in 2018 at the outdoor championships. While not having a podium finish (top four) during Floreal’s tenure, the men’s program has top 22 finishes six times when you combing indoor and outdoor.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t start off by thanking Mitch Barnhart and everyone at Kentucky,” Floreal said in a Texas news release. “I’m so grateful for all the support they gave me in building a world-class program there.”
Of course, many know the Floreal name from Edrick Jr. playing on the basketball team a few years ago. But for those that follow track closely, this is a huge loss. Hopefully the Kentucky track and field program can find a strong replacement, and good luck to Coach Floreal in Texas.