Women's Cross Country, Track & Field

Ron  Garner
Ron Garner

Head Coach

Second Season

Alma Mater:
Christopher Newport University '82


Ron Garner Named Head Coach of Illinois Women's Track and Field

Former Assistant Coach at Illinois chosen to lead program


Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships

Photos of the Illinois women's track & field team at the Big Ten Indoor Championships from February 27-28, 2015.


EIU Big Blue Classic

Photos of the Illinois women's track & field team competing at the EIU Big Blue Classic on April 3-4, 2015.


EIU Early Bird

Photos from the EIU Early Bird on January 5, 2014.

During his first season as head coach, Garner saw 18 additions to Illinois' all-time top-10 lists. The squad boasted 10 NCAA West Preliminary Round qualifiers and were represented in the discus for the first time in 10 years. Garner was also instrumental in the success of freshman high jumper Kandie Bloch-Jones. The Illinois Female Newcomer of the Year captured the indoor Big Ten title, earned second-team All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and finished runner-up at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Before returning to Illinois, Garner spent the past two seasons at the University of South Carolina as an assistant coach for the men's and women's track and field teams, specializing in sprints and relay events. He coached 20 All-Americans in 12 events during his time with the Gamecocks. In his first season at South Carolina, Garner guided sprinter Erika Rucker in becoming the SEC 2012 Indoor Freshman Runner of the Year after she finished the season as the third fastest freshman in the nation.

Garner spent one season coaching the James Madison University track and field teams in 2005, where he specialized in throwing events. With his guidance, two school records were broken, and every athlete that he coached established at least one new personal record. Garner also specialized in throwing events at the University of Virginia from 2002-2004, where he coached two 2004 US Olympic Trials qualifiers, one 2004 NCAA All-American, and three ACC Champions.

As the head coach of the Clemson women's track and field and cross country programs, Garner led the track and field team to the 1999 ACC Outdoor title, the first in 8 years. That year, the team finished at number four on the final USTFCCCA National "Dual Meet" Team Power Rankings. For his success, Garner was named the 1999 ACC Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year.

At the University of Illinois, Garner was responsible for coaching the horizontal jumps and throwing events, and also assisted with the sprints, hurdles, and relays. During his time at Illinois, Garner helped the team produce six Big Ten Team Conference titles in six years, as well as two consecutive fourth place finishes at the NCAA Championships in 1995 and 1996. He contributed to the development of Olympic Bronze Medalist Tonja Buford-Bailey, and as the recruitment coordinator, he brought in three top-three nationally ranked recruiting classes.

Garner was an assistant coach for Clemson University from 1986-1991, where he assisted in the development of Olympic Gold Medalist Kim Graham. He established and coached the first women's track and field team in program history, and won the program's first ACC Conference title in 1991. Garner began his career at Christopher Newport University in 1983.

A 1982 graduate of Christopher Newport University with a degree in Leisure Studies and Physical Education, Garner received a master's degree in education from Clemson University. He founded the Inside Track Racing Team, where he coached track and field athletes aged 10-18. Garner coached the three fastest 4x100m relays ever run by a 17-18 yr. age group club team, and produced nineteen junior All-Americans. He is married to former University of Illinois volleyball player Disa Garner. The couple has two daughters, Kayin and Tori.

Updated July 2014