The Thundering Herd track and field team defeated Ohio University in a border battle at the Ohio Women's Team Challenge in Athens.
Willie Johnson is in his fourth season overseeing sprints, jumps, and multi's for the Thundering Herd track and field program.
With the help of Johnson, the Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year, Marshall enjoyed its most successful season in program history in 2012-13. The Herd broke three indoor and 11 outdoor school records. Marshall 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. Also, a school-record eight individuals competed at the NCAA Prelims, seven of which were either sprints or jumps.
The success of 2012-13 came after a solid 2011-2012 season as 10 school records were broken, three athletes were named to the All-Conference USA Team, 16 athletes scored at the conference meet, 75 personal bests were achieved, and two qualified for nationals.
Under Johnson's instruction, Vanessa Jules led the charge for the the Herd by setting or being a part of seven school records including the indoor and outdoor high jump, 60H, 100H, Pentathlon, Heptathlon, and the 4x4 outdoor relay. During the indoor campaign she bested teammate Elaine Derricott's Pentathlon Record with a score of 3791, good enough for a thirdplace finish at the C-USA Championship meet. She followed that with a score of 5216 in Heptathlon outdoors to finish thirdwhile settinga new Marshall record in the process.
Jasia Richardson was another consistent contributor for the Herd all season. She finished as an All-C-USA performer after finishing thirdat the indoor conference meet with a triple jump of 12.52m. During the outdoor season she had an eye-popping day at the Hilltopper Relays, leaping out to a school record 12.87m distance that could not count officially because it was wind aided. Richardson then went on to finish sixthat the C-USA Outdoor Championships.
Elaine Derricott returned after redshirting for the indoor season to help the team by scoring over 5000 points to finish fifthin the heptathlon.
Meanwhile, the 4x4 relay team of Amber Pierson, Vanessa Jules, Loren Dyer, and Hadassah Lynch dropped the school record time to 3:45.21 and went on to finish 7that the C-USA outdoor meet.
The 4x1 Relay team of Kearra Haynes, Vanessa Jules, Brittany Carey, and Hadassah Lynch also found success, running the secondfastest time in school history (46.62) at the Hilltopper Relays before finishing in eighthat the C-USA Outdoor Championships.
Johnson officially joined the Thundering Herd track and field team in 2010 as an assistant coach with oversight of the sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, and multi-event athletes. Success was found immediately as 7 school records were broken, 4 athletes were named All-C-USA, 19 athletes contributed to the team score, 77 personal bests were achieved, and 1 athlete qualified for nationals.
The 2011 indoor season then saw a new scoring record for the She Herd in C-USA action with a total of 26.50 points.
Elaine Derricott had an outstanding season after transferring to Marshall that year, becoming the first outdoor C-USA Champion in Marshall history. During the successful season she set school records in the Pentathlon (3710) and the Heptathlon (5139).
The 4x1 Relay Team of Brittany Carey, Vanessa Jules, Delkira Maybin, and Moriah Njoku executed a great race en route to setting a new school record of 46.60 that was good enough for a seventhplace finish at the 2011 conference meet. That placement ended a three year drought of scoring in the event.
The 4x4 Relay team of Brittany Carey, Vanessa Jules, Amber Pierson, and Hadassah Lynch also stepped up big time at the outdoor conference meet that year, running 3:45.50 to break the school record by three seconds. It was good enough for an eighthplace finish and marked the first time that a 4x4 Relay team scored for Marshall at the C-USA Outdoor Championships.
2011 was also the first time since joining C-USA that both relay teams scored at the conference meet.
"Willie did a fantastic job while he was here as a graduate assistant," said head coach Jeff Small in 2011. "He is one of the best recruiters I have ever been around and I was excited to get him back on staff as a full time member."
Prior to returning to Marshall, Johnson spent two years as the assistant coach at Radford University, where he directed five conference champions in the triple jump, long jump, and multi-events. He also coached three of his athletes to school records in the high jump, triple jump, and multi-events, and guided a further two of them to Big South Conference Athlete of the Year awards.
Johnson is no stranger to the Huntington area, as he was a three-year graduate assistant for the Marshall track & field team from August of 2005 to June 2008.
While a member of the Herd staff as a graduate assistant, Johnson oversaw two Conference USA runner-ups, five school record holders, and three NCAA Regional Qualifiers. In the process he also earned his Masters in Sports Administration.
A native of Orlando, Fla., Johnson completed his undergraduate degree at Florida State University, where he was a four-time All-ACC triple jumper and a two-time All-American.
Johnson earned his USA Track & Field Level One Coaching Certificate in 2006.
Marshall University (2011-12)
75 - Personal Bests 16 - C-USA Scorers 10 - School Records 3 - All Conference Accolades 2 - National Qualifiers
Marshall University (2009-10)
77 - Personal Bests 19 - C-USA Scorers 7 - School Records 4 - All Conference Accolades 1 - Conference USA Champion 1 - National Qualifier
Radford University (2008-09)
5 - Big South Conference Champions 4 - Big South Conference Runner Ups 2 - Big South Third Place Finishers 4 - Big South Fourth Place Finishers 3 - School Record Holders 2 - Big South Conference Field Athletes of the Year 1 - Big South Conference Freshmen of the Year 1 - NCAA Regional Qualifiers 1 - USA Junior National Qualifier 29 - Big South Conference Scorers 49 - Personal Best Achieved
Marshall University (2005-08) 2 - Conference USA Runner Ups 5 - School Record Holders 3 - NCAA Regional Qualifiers 4 - Conference USA scorers 30 - Personal Bests Achieved