Looking for adjectives to describe Tennessee Tech University men's and women's cross country and track coach Wayne Angel, four logical terms are Passionate, Visionary, Recruiter and Winner. Those are the foundation on which the former world-class 400-meter hurdler looks to make an immediate impact on the Golden Eagle programs.
A veteran coach who has delivered successful programs and individual winners at every college and high school he has directed, Angel will strive to instill the same philosophy of commitment, dedication, hard work as well as teamwork into the hearts and minds of his Golden Eagles.
Angel came to Tennessee Tech after a four-year stint at Florida A&M University. He has a resume that includes leading top-notch programs at Illinois, Iowa, Wichita State, UT Martin and Pike High School high school in Indianapolis.
“I am honored and very excited to be a member of the Tennessee Tech family," Angel said. "I look forward to competing for an OVC championship in the future and also doing my part in helping the Golden Eagles win the Commissioner's Cup."
“We only have one place to go right now and that’s up,” he said of the Tech running programs. “Tennessee Tech is a great opportunity. The programs are sleeping giants. We have the resources and a strong commitment from the administration. The sky is the limit. Now, it’s just a matter of getting out there and recruiting great athletes and developing the ones we currently now."
Director of Athletics Mark Wilson sees a bright future for the programs under Angel's direction.
“We are excited for the direction that we feel our track and field and cross country programs will be headed in the coming years under Wayne Angel,” Wilson said. “Coach Angel has done a tremendous job and every program he has led; he has turned them into winners. We think he can achieve similar results at Tennessee Tech.
“He connects with his student-athletes, he does a remarkable job of recruiting and identifying young talent, and he is an outstanding teacher and coach who knows how to develop his athletes to become the very best they can be. We’re fully committed to building winning programs at Tennessee Tech in cross country and track and field, and Wayne Angel is the right person to work with our student-athletes to reach our goals.”
At Florida A&M, Angel coached Kenyan Elias Chesire to two National Athlete of the Week honors in cross country. He had two Rattlers earn All-America honors in the long jump and triple jump. His cross country teams won two MEAC conference championships and a runnerup honor in the four years while at FAMU, earning him two Coach of the Year honors. He coached 15 individual MEAC champions, six outstanding performers of the MEAC Championships, 40 all-MEAC performers and two All-South Region award winners in cross country. His men's cross country team was ranked as high as eighth in the South Region of the United States in 2012 and 2013.
While at Illinois, Angel coached future (London) Olympian and 110m hurdles national champion Andrew Riley. Under his guidance, sprinter Gakologewang Masheto earned numerous All-American and Big Ten honors in the 400 meters. He also earned a spot on the Botswana Olympic team competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics; becoming the third Olympian that Angel has coached. In 2008, Masheto made headlines when he set the NCAA collegiate record in the 500-meter dash.
Angel established himself as one of the top middle distance and sprint coaches in the Big Ten while he was at Illinois. He coached six All-Americans who earned 17 total All-American awards, 30 individual Big Ten champions, one NCAA Regional champion, 70 All-Big Ten honorees and two Olympic Trials qualifiers. His mile relay unit took second place at LSU in the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2006. The Illini men's track team finished 23rd at the NCAA Championships that year.
Angel earned two Central Collegiate Coach of the Year honors and was a two-time sprint coach at World Scholar-Athlete Games in 1997 and 2001. He also served as an assistant sprint coach for Latvia at the 2001 World Track & Field Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Coach Angel takes great pride in having coached six 800-meter runners under 1:50 (1:46.43; 1:47.80; 1:48.20; 1:47.81; 1:49.54; and 1:48.89) and three 400-meter hurdlers who have run 50 seconds or better (:49.60; :49.81; and :50.01). His coaching prowess extends beyond the 400m and 800m. In 2005 and 2006, he coached two of the top mile relays in the country (3:06.79 in/3:04.64 out).
During his brief stint at Iowa as the head cross country coach and assistant track coach, he guided Hawkeye Sarah Arens to an NCAA championship berth and school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Angel also coached a nationally ranked distance medley relay group during that period.
At Wichita State, Angel was the head cross country coach and assistant track coach. He trained two of the nation's top 800-meter runners indoors, Viktors Lacis (1:48.63) and Solomon Birir (1:48.81), to appearances at the NCAA Indoor Championships. His middle distance runners were also dominant at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships as they swept the top three spots. Lacis, a two-time Olympian, also placed third at the NCAA Championships in the 400m hurdles with a time of :49.60, setting a school record and earning All-American honors. Lacis went on to win the Latvia National Championships in the 400-meter hurdles that year. Angel's Shocker women's cross country team was runnerup in the Missouri Valley Conference Championships and was ranked as high as 28th in the United States and third in the Midwest Region.
Before entering the college coaching ranks, Angel was a highly successful head track and field coach at Pike High School in Indianapolis, Ind., from 1993-1998. He led his 1997 girl’s team to an undefeated season (15-0), the Indiana State High School Championship and a No. 17 national ranking. The team was state runner-up in 1998. Angel's Red Devils won three conference and four regional championships during his tenure. He also received numerous Coach of the Year honors during this period.
Angel's collegiate coaching career began in 1998 when he became the head men's and women's cross country coach and assistant men's and women's track and field coach at UT Martin. He guided one first-team all-OVC performer and three school-record setters.
A Rantoul, Illinois native, Angel earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois where he was a two-time Big Ten champion and former school record holder in the 400-meter hurdles. He competed in two Olympic Trials (1980/Eugene. Ore. and 1984/Los Angeles). He is a three-time gold medalist at the World Military Games and a seven-time Inter-Service champion. He currently holds the Armed Forces record in the 400-meter hurdles (:49.92). The Golden Eagle coach is a member of two Halls of Fame (Parkland College Hall of Fame and the Rantoul [Ill.] High School Hall of Fame). He is also a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the U.S. Army's Air Assault School. He earned the elite and coveted Army Ranger tab as well as his Airborne wings.
Angel is married to the former Tammy Johnson of Jefferson, City, Tenn. He has seven children -- Brian, Danielle, Christie, Jason, Wayne, Geoffrey and Raven -- and six grandchildren.