July 25, 2007
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- -
Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini has announced today the hiring of Kevin Stephen as the school's third head track and field coach of the modern area. His appointment and the terms of his contract are still subject to the approval of the IHL Board.
"We are extremely excited to have Kevin Stephen as our new head track coach," Giannini said. "He is a very intelligent, extremely hard worker and a strong disciplinarian. Kevin's character is impeccable and will do a great job for Southern Miss. He is very impressive and made a big impact on the search committee."
Stephen, who just completed his eighth season as a member of the Southern Miss track and field coaching staff, replaces Wayne Williams who recently announced his retirement.
"I would like to, first and foremost, thank God for this opportunity," Stephen said. "I would also like to thank former head coach Wayne Williams for believing in me, giving me my start in coaching and preparing me for this position. Next, I would like to thank Richard Giannini and Sonya Varnell for having the faith and confidence in my ability to guide this program to a successful future. My staff and I will work hard, recruit the highest quality student-athletes and return Southern Miss Track and Field and Women's Cross Country to the ranks of the Conference USA elite."
Stephen's efforts in the area of recruiting have produced several all-conference and all-regional athletes which consist of Jason Wilson, Ashley Reyer, Conrad Chanove, Jeb Meschke, Hana Prudilova, Tamara Dayes, Noah Bryant and Tanika Liburd. 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 and triple jump.
"Kevin is going to be a very good fit for the job," former head coach Wayne Williams said. "He's done an outstanding job for me since he first came to Alabama as an athlete. He has great coaching ability and organizational skills, and I think he will do an outstanding job. I look forward watching the program grow. The program is headed in the right direction, and I congratulate him on the job. It will be a good run for him."
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 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.
"Kevin helped me to achieve my goal of winning a Conference USA title, while I was at Southern Miss," said Tamara Dayes, a former track and field athlete. "I believe Kevin to be hard-working, detail-oriented, smart and a team player - the type of person you would want as a head coach."
During the past eight years, Stephen has coached at least one conference champion and his athletes have scored points in the 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).
"Coach Stephen is a great coach and person," Wilson said. "He pushed me to do my best every day, and I believe others will benefit from his coaching skills on and off the field."
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.
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.
"It is a great day for Southern Miss Athletics to hire a person with Coach Stephen's character, work ethic, and winning ability," Senior Associate Director of Athletics and SWA Sonya Varnell said. "He will provide outstanding leadership for our track and field program. I know he will represent Southern Miss by giving us his best and expect the best from his staff and athletes. We made an excellent selection of him as our next head track and field coach to continue the success begun by former head coaches Marshall Bell and Wayne Williams. I look forward to working with him to increase the visibility of the track and field program in our community."
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.