Dec. 14, 2015
Having played integral roles in steering the Vanderbilt cross country and track and field programs to success on a national level, assistant coaches Rhonda Riley and Clark Humphreys have been named associate head coaches for cross country and track and field, respectively. Vanderbilt’s XC/TF director and head coach Steve Keith announced the promotions Monday.
“Both Coach Humphreys and Coach Riley are excellent coaches and the type of people l am proud to have leading our program,” said Keith. “We have worked well together and the new titles of associate head coach are well deserved. Our programs have progressed and moved forward over the last five years and this is much to their credit.”
Riley, who joined the Vanderbilt staff in July of 2007, has helped lead the Commodores’ XC program to unprecedented heights. The team has captured back-to-back South Region titles, including the program’s first-ever championship in 2014, and has advanced to the NCAA Championships in each of the past five seasons — a feat the team had not previously accomplished before the current five-year run.
Riley said she is excited about the challenges that come with her new title, and said she believes the Commodores can not only continue their success, but expand it.
“I want to thank Coach Keith for trusting me with this new position as associate head XC coach,” said Riley. “It has been an incredible experience working at Vanderbilt for the past eight and a half years and working with Coach Keith and the staff. … We have big goals for the distance squad and this past cross country season was a step in the right direction to achieving those goals. The program has been improving each year and I am excited to see how good Vanderbilt can be at the national level in the years ahead.”
Humphreys, who joined the Commodores coaching staff in July of 2005, has likewise helped lead the Vanderbilt track team into national prominence and has been influential in helping a large collection of athletes harness their potential. His tireless efforts have helped Vanderbilt junior Simone Charley emerge as one of the country’s top triple-jumpers, earning First Team All-American honors during both the indoor and outdoor seasons last year.
Humphreys said he is excited about his new role, and looks forward to helping the program be all it can be.
“I’m very thankful to Steve Keith and (Vanderbilt athletics director) David Williams for this honor,” said Humphreys. “I am proud of the Vanderbilt track and field program and the growth that we have made over the years. We are headed in the right direction and I’m glad to be apart of this great university.”
Riley and Humphreys were both instrumental in Vanderbilt’s unprecedented success last season, when the Commodores earned a No. 15 ranking in the USTFCCCA’s Program of the Year standings. It was Vanderbilt’s first-ever appearance in the prestigious rankings, which exclusively include only schools that qualify for the NCAA Championships in all three seasons — cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.
“As coaches we preach that consistency in training is what makes the day for our student-athletes,” said Keith. “The ability to put in productive work, week after week, will pay big dividends and yield great results. It is this same principle that applies to a coaching staff. I feel very honored to have had the opportunity to work with Coach Humphreys and Coach Riley over these last 9-10 years, and I am excited to see what the future holds.”