NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Justin Byron was named as an assistant coach for the Vanderbilt women’s track and field program on Friday and will work primarily with the jumps and combined events. He will also serve as the recruiting coordinator and director of player development as announced by Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Althea Thomas.
“Vanderbilt provides student-athletes the opportunity to earn a degree at one of the most prestigious institutions in the world while competing in the strongest athletic conference in the nation. For me, the athletic administration at Vanderbilt provided insight into their vision and it was a mission that I want to be a part of. Hiring Coach Thomas was a great step towards seeing that vision fulfilled. Under the direction of Coach AT, Vanderbilt adds a successful and committed coach to an institution of high academics in the SEC, and this all happens in the great city of Nashville. It’s a great time to be a part of the Commodore track and field family.”
“I’m excited to announce Justin as the newest addition to our staff,” Thomas said. “Coach JB has always had an unwavering commitment of excellence with his athletes. From his days as a high school coach and age group club founder to his most recent success as an associate head coach in the Ivy League, he has never wavered away from developing student-athletes holistically. His recruiting skills, ability to develop athletes in a multitude of events and interpersonal skills will prove essential to our success in the SEC and NCAA.”
Byron joins the Commodores after three years in the Ivy League with Cornell, most recently as the associate head coach for the Big Red. While in Ithaca, Byron coached two All-Americans, five school records and 19 new marks on the school’s all-time top 10 lists. He tutored Beatrice Juskeviciute who won the conference title in the heptathlon in 2020.
“I’m extremely grateful to the Cornell University athletic administration, coaching staff, and entire track and field program for a positive coaching experience over the past three years,” Byron added. “My time at Cornell definitely helped me take a holistic look at the student-athlete journey and I’m excited to bring that experience to Vanderbilt.”
Prior to Cornell, Byron was the head coach of Nansemond River High School in Suffolk, Virginia, where they captured 11 state titles. Byron led 47 individuals and 15 relay teams to state championships while breaking 11 Virginia state records. On the national stage, Byron-coached prep student-athletes boasted six all-time top 10 marks, five national meet records, and 14 national crowns.
On four occasions (2015-18), he was named both the Virginia High School League Girls Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Year, and twice he was tabbed as the USTFCCCA Virginia High School Girls Coach of the Year (2015, 2016).
In 2010, Byron founded 5 Star Track Program, a youth track and field club designed to promote academic and athletic success. In addition to claiming three AAU National Club Championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014, the program implemented a college prep program that produced a 100 percent high school graduation rate with more than 80 percent going on to pursue higher education. Of the athletes that were part of the year-round training program, 14 won high school state championships, four claimed high school national championships and one set a high school national record.
Byron also served as the executive director of the Athletic Bridge Experience, a non-profit with a two-fold focus of helping student-athletes strive for academic and athletic excellence and to increase youth health and fitness for both athletes and non-athletes in the community.
A five time all-academic selection at North Carolina A&T, Byron was a seven-time conference champion, and qualified for the NCAA Championships in the indoor and outdoor 200 and 400 meters.
Byron obtained his master of science in recreation and sports science in 2014 from Ohio University. He graduated cum laude from North Carolina A&T with a bachelor of science in business finance.