Marshall bolsters rosters with athletes from six states and Europe
Herd gets three third-place finishes in C-USA Indoor Championships
Marshall will next host the Marshall Invitational
Isatu Fofanah collects two firsts
Herd places two in top 20 in weight throw
The Thundering Herd track and field team defeated Ohio University in a border battle at the Ohio Women's Team Challenge in Athens.
Jeff Small is in his 19th season (18th with the women) as the head track and field coach at Marshall University. Under the leadership of Small the Herd has enjoyed championship success, most recently in the 2012-13 outdoor season when the program took home three individual C-USA titles, placed an all-time best fifth as a team in conference, had two all-Americans and finished tied for 36th in the NCAA as a team.
It was a banner year for Marshall, which broke three indoor and 11 outdoor school records. The Herd more than doubled its previous best point total and six places better than it ever had before at the C-USA Outdoor Championships which was highlighted by the conference titles of Crystal Walker (triple jump) and Vanessa Jules (heptathlon, high jump). Both individuals went on to become first team all-Americans with Walker's fifth place finish in the long jump and Jules sixth place in the heptathlon. A school-record eight individuals were sent to the NCAA Prelims.
Marshall also had success during the 2010-11 season when Elaine Derricott, Jasia Richardson, and Vanessa Jules brought home All-Conference USA honors in the pentathlon, triple jump, and high jump events, respectively.
Small also led the team to success in 2006 when Sikeetha Shepard-Hall took second in the long jump at the Conference USA Outdoor Championship to become the first Marshall long jumper to advance to the NCAA East Regional meet. Prior to Shepard-Hall's accomplishments Erin Compton won first place in the discus throw at the Mid American Conference Championship. Compton qualified for the NCAA Championships where she went on to place eighth in 2003.
Since joining Conference USA in 2005, Small has strived to develop a program that can be a force in the ever-challenging league. Small brought in experienced coaches Willie Johnson and Lacee Carmon-Johnson during the 2009 season to help elevate Marshall to the next level, and an ascension was witnessed in the team's individual successes during the 2010-11 seasons.
Marshall and Small began capturing championships back in 1999 as a member of the MAC, when Tara Lee became the Herd's first MAC champion by winning the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor meet. In 2000, James Kneeland won the 800-meter at the Indoor Championships and B.J. Epps won the 400-meter hurdles at the outdoor meet to become Marshall's second and third MAC Champions. In 2001, Casey Batey and Erin Compton brought championship success to Marshall by winning the 3000-meter steeplechase and the discus throw, respectively, and in 2002, Casey Batey won his second MAC Championship by winning the 3000-meter steeplechase. Batey also became Marshall's first NCAA qualifier when the Herd rejoining the MAC in 1997.
In 1997, before rejoining the MAC, Small led Marshall's men's team to its first Southern Conference Indoor Championship. He was named Southern Conference Indoor Coach of the Year for his efforts, and future NFL All-Pro receiver, Randy Moss, was named Southern Conference Freshman of the Year after winning the 55-meter and 200-meter dashes while setting four school records in the four races (preliminaries and finals). In Small's first year at Marshall, the men produced eight All-Southern Conference performances to finish third at the Southern Conference Indoor Championships, the Herd's highest finish since 1988. Marshall had seven athletes earn All-Southern Conference honors during the outdoor season.
Before coming to Marshall, Small was the assistant men's and women's track & field coach and head cross country coach for the University of South Carolina. From 1989-1995, Small coached one NCAA qualifier, five All-Region, four All-SEC, and 15 All-Metro Conference runners in cross country.
Small began his coaching career as the Head Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach at the Florida Institute of Technology from 1985-1988. While there, Small led the Panthers to two men's and women's Sunshine State Conference Championships.
The accomplishments of Small's athletes are not limited to the track, however, as they have also found success in the classroom. Since Small's arrival at Marshall, the women's team has led all women's teams once and surpassed the average for all women's athletes on four occasions while earning a team GPA of 3.0 or higher three times.
Small's familiarity with success stems from his background as an athlete. He competed at California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo where he lettered four years in track and three years in cross country. He was a member of the 1978 and 1979 Division II National Championship cross country teams and the 1979 and 1980 Division II National Championship track and field teams. Small was a three-time NCAA Division II qualifier in the 3000-meter Steeplechase, and an All-American in 1979 when he finished third. In 1979, he was the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Champion in the Steeplechase. Small graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1981.
Small earned his USA Track & Field Level I Certification in 1994, and is a member of the United States Track Coaches Association (USTCA), the Women's Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association (WICCA), and the United States Cross Country Coaches Association (USCCA). He is married to the former LeeAnne Shaver of Melbourne, Fla. They have two children, Nicholas (29) and Summer (21). He is the son of Richard and Beverly Small. He has two brothers, Steve and Mike, and a sister, Marcia. Small was born April 10, 1958, in Harvey, Ill.
Marshall University (1995-2013)
2 - Southern Conference Coach of the Year Awards
3 - All-Americans
20 - NCAA Regional Qualifiers
20 - Individual Conference Champions