As Kevin Stephen oversees the track and field program for his sixth season at Southern Miss, he continues to leave a firm stamp on the program's continued progression of success. This is Stephen's 15th year overall at the school, having served as an assistant for the previous eight seasons before taking over as head coach.
Under his tutelage, Stephen has personally coached one NCAA Champion and one runner-up at that meet as well as a NCAA individual event record holder. He has mentored six NCAA All-Americans - four first-team selections and two second-team picks - and has had 34 NCAA championship participants.
There have been 19 Conference USA champions in 14 different events and three C-USA meet record holders under his direction and he has overseen 65 all-league performers and two C-USA performers of the meet. His athletes have recorded 24 school records including all in the throwing and multi events.
Over the last three years, the program has enjoyed three top-15 NCAA team finishes including a 13th-place showing at the indoor meet in 2011 and then collecting 10th and 11th in the last two outdoor championships, respectively. The Golden Eagles were the only C-USA program to contribute points to the Capital One Cup in 2011.
Also during that two-year span, he has produced the only three Southern Miss NCAA champions in the school's history, collecting three of the four that Conference USA has produced over that time. Over that time, the Golden Eagles have been honored with 13 All-Americans (eight first-team and five second-team).
The program has produced five Top 3 finishes among individuals and the team finished third in the 2012 C-USA Outdoor Championship, which was the second best finish in school history. Stephen also finished second in the voting for C-USA's Women's Coach of the Year. He has coached eight C-USA champions over the last two seasons.
The 2012 season saw Stephen's team pick up four USTFCCCA All-America honors as Ganna Demydova captured the Golden Eagles' third NCAA individual title in the past two seasons. Demydova earned first team honors while Tori Bowie came up short in defending her title with a second-place finish. Bowie earned first team honors after earning two second team All-America accolades during the indoor season in the long jump and triple jump. His women's team posted a third-place finish at the Conference USA Outdoor Championship, its highest since 2005. Demydova recorded the two best marks in the history of the league in the triple jump while Bowie also set a new league record in the long jump. Twelve student-athletes qualified for the NCAA Preliminary Rounds and four advanced to the national meet. Southern Miss finished tied for 12th with 18 points.
Stephen's teams produced a record-setting season in 2011 on the women's side as four student-athletes garnered All-American status including two first team selections during the indoor season and three first team selections during the outdoor season. Tori Bowie became the first Southern Miss athlete in track and field to win a national championship in any event in school history as she took the title in both the indoor and outdoor long jump.
Ganna Demydova finished fourth in the indoor triple jump and third in the outdoor triple jump and established school records in both while Ke'Airra Jones earned second team honors during the indoor high jump with a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championship. Chastity Riggien also earned second All-American honors in the 60 meters.
Jones earned a fourth-place finish in the outdoor high jump to earn first team All-American honors. Riggien recorded a time of 11.52 in the 100 meters and placed 13th overall to earn second team All-American accolades Stephen's efforts in the area of recruiting have produced several all-conference, all-regional athletes which consist of Jason Wilson, Ashley Reyer, Conrad Chanove, Jeb Meschke, Hana Prudilova, Tamara Dayes, Noah Bryant, Tanika Liburd, Ashley May, Ke'Airra Jones, Tori Bowie, Kyle Smith and Marcus Norwood. Wilson, Liburd and Bowie earned All-American honors.
Stephen's athletes have set or broken school records in men's indoor shot, weight throw and heptathlon, men's outdoor shot, hammer, discus, javelin and decathlon, women's indoor 60-meter dash, shot, weight throw, pentathlon, long jump and triple jump and women's outdoor shot, hammer, discus, pole vault, heptathlon, long jump, triple jump and javelin.
In 2010, Stephen's had a combined record 50 athletes that placed in the top eight during the C-USA indoor and outdoor meets that included three champions.
One Golden Eagle competed in the indoor National Championship and 12 athletes competed in the NCAA Preliminary round with four advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championship. Tori Bowie earned All-American honors with her sixth-place finish in the long jump.
In 2009 a combined 37 of Stephen's athletes nearly matched the 2008 group that placed in the top eight during the C-USA indoor an outdoor meets that included two champions. A total of eight outdoor performers qualified for the NCAA regional competition and two advancing on the NCAA National Championships.
In 2008, Stephen had a combined total of 39 athletes place in the top eight during the C-USA indoor and outdoor meets, including one champion. Six outdoor athletes qualified for NCAA regional competition with two advancing to the NCAA National Championships.
In 2007, Stephen coached two national qualifiers in Prudilova in the javelin and Reyer in the heptathlon for the second straight year.
In 2006, Stephen coached the C-USA heptathlon champion in Reyer, whose performance was good enough to qualify for the NCAA National Championship, where she finished 14th overall. His throwers scored 11 points for the men's team.
Marcus Brown recorded a regional qualifying mark in the hammer. For three consecutive seasons, Stephen coached the C-USA champion in the javelin. Chanove won the javelin title two straight years, while Prudilova captured the women's event in 2004. In 2003, Meschke won the event and he and Chanove went on to qualify for the regional meet for two straight years. Chanove finished fourth at the regional meet and advanced to the national meet in 2005. Prudilova and Kate Juedes qualified for the regional competition in the javelin and Noah Bryant qualified for the men's discus.
During the 10 years, Stephen has coached at least one conference champion and his athletes have scored points in the long jump, triple jump, high jump, discus, hammer, javelin, shot, weight throw, heptathlon and decathlon at the C-USA meet. He also coached the current C-USA record holder in the decathlon (Jason Wilson, 7,521) and both former (Hope Sinclair, 5,361) and current heptathlon winner (Ashley Reyer, 5,392).
Prior to taking the head coaching position, his main coaching responsibility included working with the throwers and the multi-event athletes, the team's strength and conditioning program, meet management as well as recruiting.
Prior to coming to Southern Miss, Stephen was an undergraduate assistant at the University of Alabama. While at Alabama, he assisted in the field event areas of the jumps and throws, as well as with track meet coordination. He also assisted with several All-America throwers and jumpers.
Under Stephen's guidance, the Golden Eagles have also excelled in the classroom, having tallied the highest grade point average in Conference USA (3.91) as well as at the top in the country. His team captured its first-ever NCAA All-Academic Team award in 2012 and then capture the same award the last two seasons in 2011 and 2012. The team overall GPA's for all of his programs have made substantial improvements through his tenure as head coach.
Stephen received a track scholarship to Alabama after graduating from Queen's Royal College. He was captain of the Trinidad and Tobago junior national track and field team for two years. At the Central American and Caribbean Games, he became his country's first gold medal winner in the decathlon. He also competed in soccer and basketball and was named Queen's Royal College Sportsman of the Year.
Stephen serves on the Southern Miss Staff Council Executive committee as well as other search committees within the department including the recent athletic director's search as well as head coaching searches over the last few years. He is a well-known guest speak at the coaches' conventions in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
Stephen earned his bachelor's degree in Spanish with a minor in general business from Alabama in 1997 and an MBA from Southern Miss in 2001.
The Trinidad and Tobago native is the son of Joseph and Mary Stephen.