By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Achieving unprecedented success is no easy task in the professional world – let alone the world of a collegiate head coach – but over the course of his tenure as the leader of the track and field and cross country programs at Tennessee Tech, that is exactly what Wayne Angel did.
Now, after five years at the helm in Cookeville, three Ohio Valley Conference championships and four OVC Coach of the Year honors, Angel will start the next great chapter of his coaching career at Northern Colorado, where he will assume the role of Director of Track & Field and Cross Country.
"I would like to thank President (Phil) Oldham, (Director of Athletics) Mark Wilson, (Associate AD) Frank Harrell and (Associate AD) Tammie McMillan for their leadership and support during my time at Tennessee Tech," Angel expressed. "My mission was to make a difference in our student-athletes' lives. I promised them that I would help them to win championships and put championship rings on their fingers – we accomplished both."
In a very literal sense, Angel built his TTU program from the ground up when he arrived on campus ahead of the 2014-15 season. By 2017-18, his fourth campaign at Tech, the Angel-led Golden Eagles broke through in a major way, notching the indoor/outdoor sweep of the OVC Championships, the first two track and field titles in Tennessee Tech history.
Tech scored 137 points at the 2018 OVC Indoor Championships, recording a convincing 31-point victory for its first-ever championship. Riding significant momentum, Angel's club took it a step further at the OVC Outdoor Championships later that year, putting up 151 points in front of the home crowd at Tech's Tucker Stadium, and amassing a 50-point cushion over runner-up Murray State.
In fall of 2018, Angel guided the men's cross country team to a third-place finish at the OVC Championships, the program's highest finish in over 50 years (1967). On the women's side, he oversaw the dominance of OVC Runner of the Year Purity Sanga, who claimed the league's individual championship, and did not finish lower than third overall at any race during the regular season.
Under Angel's tutelage, Sanga went on to claim an OVC Track Athlete of the Year honor during the 2019 indoor season – while helping the Golden Eagles to their third straight OVC Championship – and then did it again during the outdoor campaign, making her the first female OVC athlete to win Cross Country Runner of the Year and Indoor and Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year in the same season since Eastern Kentucky's Jamie King in 1997-98.
"The Golden Eagle cross country and track and field teams are in a good place now," Angel said. "They are well-respected in the OVC and in the USTFCCCA South Region. I am very proud and honored to have served as the head coach of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, and I wish my Tech family all the best in the future."
Photo by Thomas Corhern