Tonja Buford-Bailey was named USTFCCCA Midwest Region Head Women's Coach of the Year on Monday.
March 4, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Fighting Illini women's track and field head coach Tonja Buford-Baileywas named United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) Midwest Region Head Women's Coach of the Year on Monday.
"It's great to receive this honor," head coach Buford-Bailey said. "It makes me feel even better knowing that I received this award because my peers voted for me. I'm really honored."
Coach Buford-Bailey led the team to its first Big Ten title since the 1996 season. Her areas of expertise, the sprints and hurdles, powered the Illini to Big Ten champions in six events including Ashley Spencer in the 200m/400m, Morolake Akinosun in the 60m, Breeana Coleman in the 60m hurdles, the 4x400m relay and Stephanie Richartz in the pole vault. Also, she coached a pair of Big Ten Conference records this season with Ashley Spencer's400m time of 52.07 and the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:33.30.
Two other student-athletes set school record this season under Buford-Bailey's tutelage including junior Samantha Murphyin the 600m & 800m and Richartz in the pole vault.
This is the second time Buford-Bailey has earned the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors, winning the award in her first season in 2009. Last week Buford-Bailey was also was named the Big Ten indoor track and field Coach of the Year as voted on by her peers. It was the first time Buford-Bailey has been honored and the last time since an Illini women's coach was named conference coach of the year since 1996.