Special to Gatorsports.com
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Florida track and field and cross country head coach Mike Holloway will lead the United States Track and Field team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the USATF announced Wednesday.
“Being named the Olympic head coach is an incredible honor,” Holloway said. “It’s honestly something I never thought about. People mentioned it to me over the last few years. But I always wanted to be a coach of Olympic athletes, to have an athlete at the Olympics. I remember, as a young coach, wanting to have an Olympic medalist. I remember coaching Dennis Mitchell when he won a medal with the (4×100) relay (in 1992), and that was very exciting. Then having Kerron (Clement) win the Olympic gold (in 2016) was just incredible.
“This is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. The most fun part of this is sharing it with family and friends. They’re as excited, if not more excited. I’m not a guy that gets nervous about things, but I’m anxious about this. It’s an incredible honor to be asked to head the best track and field team in the world. I’m looking forward to it.”
Holloway will be the third Gators head coach in history to lead an American Olympics team amid an active UF coaching career, joining Gregg Troy (men’s swimming, 2012 London Olympics), and Ernestine Weaver (gymnastics, 1980 Moscow Olympics).
The Gators also have an American Olympics head coaching tie in Jimmy Carnes, who was the USA Track and Field men’s head coach at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Carnes was head coach for Florida’s men from 1965 until his retirement from collegiate coaching in 1976. The same goes for Eddie Reese, who led USA Swimming’s men at the 1992 Barcelona, 2004 Athens, and 2008 Beijing Olympics. Reese was a Florida swimming and diving assistant coach from 1967-72.
This will not be Holloway’s first international coaching gig with USA Track and Field. Holloway was head coach for the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, where the American men won a meet-leading four gold medals. And Holloway was an assistant coach, directing sprints and relays, at the 2012 London Olympics.
Holloway directly coached six Olympic medalists (to a combined nine medals) in his high school and collegiate coaching careers, the most notable among them being gold medalists Kerron Clement (400-meter hurdles, 2016 Rio Olympics), Dennis Mitchell (4×100 relay, 1992 Barcelona Olympics), and Bernard Williams (4×100 relay, 2000 Sydney Olympics).
Every USA Track and Field Olympics team since 1992 has featured least one Holloway-coached athlete.
Over the course of Holloway’s time on Florida’s staff (men’s assistant coach in 1996, men’s head coach in 2003, then men’s and women’s head coach in 2008), 20 Gators who were coached directly by him or competed collegiately for him have combined for 33 Olympics appearances.
Seven of those aforementioned Gators have combined for 15 medals, with another professional coached by Holloway adding a 16th medal.