Gainesville, FL - Renowned jumps coach Dick Booth, who has spent the
past 27 years helping to build Arkansas into a national power, has been
named assistant track and field coach at the University of Florida, head
coach Mike Holloway announced Tuesday.
At Florida, Booth will be responsible for coaching the jumps and
assisting with recruiting and other key phases of the program.
Booth spent 27 seasons as the men’s field-events coach at the University of Arkansas and also has served as the head coach at
Louisiana-Lafayette. Impressively, every Arkansas school record-holder in the men’s field events was either coached or recruited by Booth.
“We are extremely excited to hire a coach of Dick’s caliber,” Holloway
said. “We look forward to him joining our program and helping us
continue towards our goal of becoming the best team in the country.”
During his four-year tenure as head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette from
1985-88, Booth was responsible for two individual national
championships, five All-Americans and 19 school record-holders.
“I am extremely pleased to be joining the staff at Florida,” Booth said.
“I have known Mike Holloway for a long time and, to have the opportunity to be a part of Gator track’s continued success is very exciting.”
Booth served as field-events coach at the University of Arkansas from
1978-84 and 1988-2009. Since returning to the Razorbacks, Arkansas
captured 14 NCAA indoor track titles in 24 tries with a string of eight
consecutive outdoor championships between 1992 and 1999 and another winning streak with titles earned in 2003-06.
During his time at Arkansas, Booth was responsible for 45 individual
national championships and 137 All-America honors. Additionally, he
coached 11 Olympians.
The jumpers he’s worked with could compile a Who’s Who list of
collegiate track. They’ve included Mike Conley, Erick Walder, Robert
Howard, Edrick Floreal, Brian Wellman, Jerome Romain, Ray Doakes, Matt Hemingway, Melvin Lister and Kenny Evans.
Booth has also coached pole vaulter Mark Klee and shot put-discus
standouts Marty Kobza and Scott Lofquist, among others. At ULL, he had standouts Hollis Conway and Neil Guidry.
At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, Booth’s most successful jumper, Conley, captured a gold medal in the triple jump with the second-longest wind-aided distance in the history of the event. Conley had previously won a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics. Conway, the American indoor record holder in the high jump, earned a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics and a bronze at the 1992 games.
A native of Blue Mound, Kan., Booth was a quarter-miler at Ottawa
University. He began his coaching career at Wellington (Kan.) High
School, then moved to Fort Scott (Kan.) High School and Shawnee Mission South. He gained a reputation as one of the premier prep field events coach in the country while working with four state record holders in seven seasons at Shawnee Mission South.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Ottawa in
1966 and a master’s degree in physical education from Kansas State in
Booth and his wife, Merry Lee, have a son, Marc, and a daughter, Reagan Russell. The family has a proud athletic tradition as Marc was a punter for Arkansas’ football team, while Reagan was a member of the women’s track and field team at Louisiana-Lafayette. Booth also has six