Virginia hires Director of Track and Field and Cross Country amid investigation

Track and field coach Vin Lananna left Oregon to join Virginia Athletics

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Vin Lananna was introduced at the football game Saturday night to over 57,000 Virginia fans.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

Virginia Director of Athletics Carla Williams announced last week the hiring of Vin Lananna, one of the biggest names in the track and field community. Lananna comes to Virginia from Oregon where he was the associate athletic director.

Former president of the USA Track and Field, Lananna was put on temporary administrative leave in February 2018, as the Department of Justice launched an investigation into the bids of several international athletic championships. 

As part of the global corruption investigation, one of the bids under scrutiny is Lananna and TrackTown USA’s successful bid to land the 2021 IAAF World Championships for Eugene, Ore. While he is not a target of the investigation, USATF decided to place Lananna on leave to avoid any conflicts of interest as Lananna was the president of TrackTown USA at the time.

In February 2019, Lannana filed to end his “temporary administrative leave” as USATF President, but the USATF board denied his request until the resolution of the investigation. As of now, his future with the organization and investigation is yet to be resolved.

The Virginia Athletics department said it could not comment on the specifics of Lananna’s complaint against USATF because the matter is still in arbitration.

“The University’s General Counsel evaluated the circumstances of the matter in which Coach Lananna was a witness in a government investigation of others and confirmed he was not the target of any investigation,” the department said. “Coach Lananna’s tremendous reputation throughout the world of track and field is a testament to his character and integrity which is why he is a perfect fit for the University of Virginia.”

Lannana will be named to two positions — director of track and field and cross country and associate athletic director for administration. The former coach takes over the track and field program from Bryan Fetzer, who resigned this past July and retired from coaching after 25 years in the profession. 

"Vin Lananna is legendary in track and field and cross country," Williams said. "He is a winner. He has won at every level throughout his career as a coach and as an administrator. He cares deeply about helping student-athletes reach their maximum potential in competition and in life.”

In collegiate athletics, Lannana formerly coached and directed Stanford from 1992 to 2003 and Oregon from 2005 to 2012. Lannana won 11 national titles and 42 conference championships during his tenures at the two programs and became a five-time NCAA cross country coach of the year. Lannana was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 2012.

Outside of collegiate athletics, Lannana earned coaching jobs on both the national and international stages, serving as the U.S. Men’s Track and Field Coach at the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2011 IAAF World Championships. 

"I am immensely excited about the opportunity to work with world class students and staff at the University of Virginia," Lananna said. "I have been fortunate to have worked with terrific leaders in the world of sport and in the world of business. Carla Williams' vision for U.Va. athletics is clear, bold and inspirational. I am humbled to join the incredible U.Va. coaching staff, the professional administrators and the Charlottesville community. I cannot wait to get started."

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