Leroy Burrell enters his 14th season as head coach at the University of Houston. A former world record holder in the 100 meters and a former student-athlete, Burrell is one of the nation's premier coaches. In the decade that Burrell has been at the helm, Houston has added 39 NCAA All-Americans and a combined 19 Conference USA Team Championships to the record books. He was named the 2008 Indoor Men's Coach of the Year after leading the men to their ninth indoor team title. In recognition of his outstanding career as a world-class sprinter and collegiate coach, Burrell was recently inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
Last season, Burrell helped guide high-jumper Ivan Diggs to Indoor All-America status after Diggs took gold in the C-USA Championships and finished fourth at the NCAA Championships. Burrell also tutored freshmen Ed Turner and Chris Carter who won the long jump and triple jump competitions, respectively, at the conference championships. Sprinters Tremaine Smith (200m) and Seun Adigun (60m hurdles) also earned gold.
During the outdoor season, Burrell coached Adigun, Jason Perez and Tyron Carrier to the NCAA Championships after all three individuals qualified to advance during the NCAA Midwest Regional in Lincoln, Neb.
In 2007, Burrell coached Ebonie Floyd to two NCAA Championships top three finishes and an unprecedented four Conference USA records. She currently holds outdoor school records in the 200 and 400 meters and indoor records in the 60 and 200 meters. She set an NCAA Midwest Regional Record in the 200 meters with a finish of 22.32, winning both the 200-meter and 100-meter races at the meet. Floyd was named an All-American at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships.
Burrell also led Carey LaCour to a Indoor Championship in the 60 meters and as a NCAA Indoor Championship qualifier. Tremaine Smith was an C-USA Champion in the 200 meters and as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team.
Burrell tutored eight All-Americans in Floyd, Cheryl Garner, Keisha Howard, LaDedra Guy, Kolee Latson, Preston Perry, Smith and Vincent Marshall in 2006. The women's team swept the team titles at the Indoor and Outdoor C-USA Championships with the men's team finishing second at both meets.
Since taking over the program in 1998-99, Burrell has been named the Conference USA Coach of the Year a combined 16 times after guiding his men's team to 10 C-USA indoor and outdoor championships and the women's team to nine titles. The women's team also finished among the top ten teams at the NCAA Championships three times during that span. This season, he has both of his teams poised to continue to produce on the national stage.
In his first two seasons as head coach, Burrell was named the C-USA Men's Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to the 1999 and 2000 Conference USA Indoor and Outdoor crowns.
In his first season, he coached the C-USA Indoor and Outdoor Athletes of the Year, Anthony Authorlee and Dennis Darling. Authorlee was named the 1999 C-USA Outdoor Athlete of the Year after winning the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. His victory marked the first time that the Cougars had a conference 100-meter champion since 1993.
Darling was named the 1999 C-USA Indoor Athlete of the Year after winning the 200 meters and 400 meters. He also ran the anchor leg on Houston's victorious 4x400 meter relay.
That season, the women's team finished in third place at both the C-USA Indoor and Outdoor Meets.
Houston enjoyed success on the national frontier that season, when the women's team ended the 1999 campaign with a 20th place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Meet.
In 2000, Burrell guided Houston to the C-USA Men's Indoor and Outdoor Championships for a second straight year. He coached the C-USA Freshman of the Year, Robert Foster, who won the 200-meter dash at the C-USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Burrell was named the C-USA Women's Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2000 after leading the women's team to their first conference championship under his direction. Houston won the C-USA women's outdoor title after finishing as the runner-up team at the C-USA Indoor meet.
Later that year, the women's team finished in eighth place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Jenny Adams won the NCAA long jump title and finished as the runner-up in the 100 meters. Ifoma Jones had a fourth-place finish in the heptathlon and finished seventh in the high jump. Rhian Clarke also had a seventh-place finish in the pole vault.
In 2001, the women's team finished in seventh place at the NCAA Indoor Championships, as Adams became Houston's first two-time NCAA champion since 1989 when she won the long jump. She also finished in third place in the 60-meter hurdles to close out her collegiate career. Clarke finished in fourth place in the pole vault.
The seventh place finish was Houston's best placing since the 1993 indoor championships and the eighth-place finish at the 2000 outdoor meet equaled Houston's best NCAA outdoor showing in the school's history.
Later that year, Foster became the first UH sprinter to qualify for the 100 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships since Sam Jefferson was the 1993 NCAA 100 meters champion after winning the 100 and 200 meter titles at the C-USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
In 2002, Burrell was honored as the Conference USA Women's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year after leading Houston to both C-USA championships. Rhian Clarke and Krystal Ward earned All-America honors in the heptathlon and pole vault at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
In 2004, Burrell was again named the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year and Conference USA Men's Indoor Coach of the Year for a second time, when he guided Houston to its second straight C-USA men's indoor championship. He was named the C-USA Women's Outdoor Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to a first-place finish. He also coached C-USA Freshman of the Year, LaDedra Guy.
In 2005, Burrell was named the C-USA men's and women's C-USA coach of the Year after Houston won its third straight C-USA men's indoor and the women's team won their third indoor championship in the last four years. He also was named the C-USA men's outdoor Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to the C-USA outdoor championship. He also led the women's team to their second straight C-USA outdoor title.
A year later, Burrell was recognized as the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year and the 2003 Conference USA men's and women's Indoor Coach of the Year after guiding both the men's and women's teams to C-USA Indoor championships. He also produced All-America sprinters Robert Foster and Stanford Routt, along with one of the nation's top 4x100 meter relay teams.
In 2006, Burrell led the Cougar women's team to a third consecutive C-USA Outdoor title and was named the Coach of the Year for the second time in three years and the fourth time of his career. Floyd won the 100 and 200 meters and ran the anchor leg of both of Houston's relay teams. Floyd was named the Female Performer of the Meet.
Later in the season, Floyd, Preston Perry and the men's 4x100 meter relay team advanced to the NCAA Championships. Floyd would also go on to finish fourth in the 200 meters at the USA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Burrell first gained track and field's national spotlight when he earned All-America honors as a senior at Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne, Pa. in 1985. He was named the Eastern Track Athlete of the Year after single-handedly winning the 1985 Class 3A state championship. Burrell scored all of Penn Wood's 40 points when he won the 100, 200, long jump and triple jump at the state meet.
In 1985-86, he broke Houston's freshman long jump record that was held by Carl Lewis, when he leaped 26'9" at a dual meet against UCLA in 1986. Later that season, he faced one of the most challenging moments of his track career.
After jumping 26' 7.25" in the preliminaries of the 1986 Southwest Conference Outdoor Championships, Burrell jumped almost 27 feet before landing awkwardly on his third jump. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He finished second at the meet, but many people feared the injury could be career ending.
In 1988, he returned to the SWC Championships, where he finished second in the 100 meters and in third-place in the long jump. At the NCAA Championships, Burrell earned All-America honors with a fifth-place finish in the 100 meters and a seventh-place showing in the long jump.
The next year, he won the NCAA Indoor Long Jump Championship with a leap of 26' 5.50". At the NCAA Outdoor meet, he set the NCAA outdoor meet record with a personal best jump of 27' 5.50". But, Ohio State's Joe Greene recorded a wind-aided mark of 27' 7.25" to win the event, and left Burrell with a record-setting second-place finish.
Two weeks later, Burrell rebounded at the USA Outdoor Championships at Houston's Robertson Stadium. He won the 100 meters in 9.94 seconds, which was the fastest time ever recorded by a collegian. He also teamed with Carl Lewis, Danny Everett and current UH assistant coach Floyd Heard to set a world record in the 4x200 meter relay with a time of 1:19.38.
As a senior in 1990, Burrell won the NCAA Indoor Long Jump title for the second straight year with a leap of 27 feet. At the SWC Outdoor Championships, Burrell ran one of the best sprint doubles ever recorded. He ran the fastest 200 meters ever run under any conditions with a windaided time of 19.61 and ran a wind-aided 9.94 time in the 100 meters to easily win both races.
He also won the 100 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Durham, N.C., when he posted a wind-aided time of 9.94 seconds. He set the NCAA meet record in the semifinals in 10.03 seconds. His outstanding season resulted in Burrell receiving the "Jumbo Elliott Award" as the nation's top collegiate track and field athlete.
After completing his collegiate eligibility, Burrell beat Carl Lewis for the first time on July 23, 1990, when he won the 100 meters in 10.05 seconds at the Goodwill Games in Seattle. He was ranked as the world's top sprinter in 1990 and 1991 after winning 19 of his 22 races in the 100 meters.
Burrell set his first individual 100 meter world record on June 14, 1991, at the USA Championships in New York City. With a time of 9.90 seconds in the 100 meters, he edged Lewis, who finished second with a time of 9.92. Later that year at the World Championships in Tokyo, Burrell bettered his time to 9.88; however, he was forced to settle for the Silver Medal as Lewis won the race in a record time of 9.86.
Burrell and Lewis joined forces in the 1992 Olympic Games at Barcelona, Spain, when they combined with Mike Marsh and Dennis Mitchell to win the gold medal and set a new world record with a time of 37.40 seconds. Burrell also had a fifth-place finish in the 100 meters at the Olympic Games.
In 1993, Burrell ran the anchor leg for the USA's 4x100-meter relay team at the World Championships. The team won another Gold Medal and tied the world record.
In 1994, Burrell was a member of the Santa Monica track team that set the world record in the 4x200 meter relay in 1:18.68. On July 6, 1994, Burrell reclaimed the title as the "World's Fastest Human" when he reset his world record time in the 100 meters with a time of 9.85 seconds.
In 1996, he earned a spot on the USA Olympic Team, but was forced to withdraw because of an Achilles tendon injury.
Two years later, he announced his retirement as the American record holder in the 100 meters and was selected to succeed his collegiate coach and USTCA Hall of Fame coach Tom Tellez.
A 1991 UH graduate with a degree in radio and television communications, Burrell was inducted into UH's Hall of Honor in 2000.
He is married to the former Michelle Finn, an Olympic sprinter. The couple and their family live in Houston.