June 19, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Kevin Stephen, head coach for the Southern Miss Track and Field program for the last seven seasons, announced his resignation from the school Thursday. His resignation is effective June 30.
Stephen's resignation also ends a 15-year association with the program at Southern Miss, having also served as an assistant coach for eight seasons.
"I'd like to thank the athletic administration at Southern Miss for having faith in me and giving me the opportunity to lead the Track and Field as well as the Cross Country programs for the past seven years," said Stephen. "The most valuable thing I take away is the relationships I built over the years. From the student-athletes, to the other coaches and support staff, I cherish the relationships that I formed in my fifteen years as a Golden Eagle. Having a chance to positively influence young lives made every day of work more than worth it.
"During my tenure as head coach, a strong focus was placed on academics and this dedication saw us rise to the top of the nation academically. I thank all the national champions, C-USA Champions, All-Conference USA performers and league point scorers that I had the privilege to work with over the years. They bought in and together we elevated the level of the program. To those who may not have scored but brought hard work, dedication and a positive influence to the team, they were just as important. Special thanks go out to all my assistants during my time as head coach because there would be no successes without them. My hope is that we have laid a good framework for future success and I have no doubt that Mr. McGillis will work hard to find the best possible person to lead the programs into the future."
Under his tutelage, Stephen has personally coached one NCAA Champion and one runner-up 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.
In addition, there were 18 Conference USA champions in 13 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 2012 and 2013 meets, respectively. The Golden Eagles were the only C-USA program in track to contribute points to the Capital One Cup in 2011.
Also during that three-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.
During the 2014 season, the Golden Eagles produced six all-conference performers including a pair of first-team selections. Randy McCoy captured the indoor 60-meter hurdle event championship. McCoy went on to finish third in the C-USA outdoor championship, qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary and was a national meet qualifier where he finished in the top 20 and earned NCAA and USTFCCCA honorable mention All-America honors. Eight Eagles earned a spot in the East Preliminary Round. During the season, three of his performers also broke school records.
"I appreciate Kevin Stephen's hard work and commitment to Southern Miss student-athletes during his 15-year tenure here,' said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Bill McGillis. "Our Track and Field student-athletes' best interests have always been at the heart of Kevin's leadership. Our program enjoyed many successes on the track, in the classroom and in the community while he served as both an assistant coach, and as our head coach, and we wish him the very best moving forward."
The Trinidad and Tobago native 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.
A national search will begin immediately to find a replacement for Stephen.