NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Althea Thomas, director of Vanderbilt cross country and track and field announced Monday that John Newell will be joining the track and field coaching staff as an assistant throws coach.
“I’m excited to have Coach Newell join our staff,” Thomas said. “He brings a plethora of knowledge and experience in the throws and in developing a culture for sustainable success. His accolades in the SEC, NCAA and world come second only to his empathetic leadership. I am looking forward to how his contribution will help us continue our mission to be the best here at Vanderbilt.”
Newell is no stranger to the SEC, having made two stops over a 10-year period. From 2013 to 2022, he was an assistant coach at Tennessee. During the 2022–23 season, he served as a volunteer assistant coach at Arkansas, where he coached men’s throws student-athletes.
With Newell’s assistance, the Razorback men won the 2023 NCAA indoor team title and were runners-up to the outdoor team crown. That season, Rojé Stona, coached by Newell, recorded the No. 2 all-time mark in NCAA discus history, 68.64 meters, and earned a silver medal at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Stona and Ralford Mullings, also tutored by Newell, finished first and second, respectively, in the discus at the SEC Outdoor Championships. Stona also won a bronze medal in the shot put at the SEC Indoor Championships that year.
For nine years, Newell was an assistant coach for the Volunteers, coaching one gold and two bronze medalists at the 2022 SEC Outdoor Championships and two silver medalists at that year’s SEC Indoor Championships. On a national level, he guided three first-team All-Americans, who totaled 14 points at the 2022 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. As a team, Tennessee finished third at both championship meets.
Coached by Newell, 2021 SEC shot put champion Latavia Maines set a meet record in the event, throwing 18.71 meters. The Volunteers swept the SEC indoor shot put titles in 2020 under Newell’s guidance. Maines took the women’s title, while Joseph Maxwell placed first on the men’s side.
Two athletes Newell coached competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Travis Bailey, representing the United States in the discus, and Steven Mozia, competing for Nigeria in the shot put. Stamatia Scarvelis, also coached by Newell, competed in the hammer throw at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for Team Greece.
Newell began his coaching career as an assistant at Michigan State (2007–13). There, he tutored Beth Rohl, a walk on who eventually became a five-time Big Ten champion and two-time medalist between the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships in 2013.
Over 16 years of coaching, Newell has boasted three Olympians, 38 first-team All-Americans and 21 conference champions in the Big Ten (10) and SEC (11), and he has coached student-athletes to achieving 15 school records. In 2011, he was named the USTFCCCA Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the Great Lakes Region.
In 2005, Newell graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He also received an Associate of Arts degree from Sacramento City College in 2002. As a student-athlete, he was a six-time qualifier for the NCAA Championships and was an All-America selection in the indoor shot put in 2005.