St. Clair named Nebraska Track and Field head coach
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska track and field interim head coach Justin St. Clair has officially been named the 17th head coach in program history.
Nebraska Vice Chancellor, Director of Athletics Trev Alberts announced on Wednesday that the “interim” tag has been removed from St. Clair’s title. The first-year head coach will lead the Huskers into the Big Ten Indoor Championships in Geneva, Ohio this weekend.
St. Clair was named interim head coach last August after Gary Pepin retired after 42 years as Nebraska’s head coach. St. Clair served as the Huskers’ associate head coach and throws coach for the 2022 season.
“As the leader of Nebraska track and field for the last six months, Justin St. Clair has done a tremendous job and has earned this opportunity to continue guiding our track and field program moving forward,” Alberts said. “Our Husker track and field teams are on an impressive trajectory nationally and have produced some outstanding performances already this indoor season. There are undoubtedly very exciting days ahead for Nebraska track and field. Go Big Red!”
“I am extremely grateful and excited and look forward to the future of our Nebraska track and field program,” St. Clair said. “Having the opportunity to serve our past, current and future student-athletes is a tremendous privilege. I am very thankful for the support of Chancellor Ronnie Green, Director of Athletics Trev Alberts and our sport administrators Jamie Vaughn and Dr. Lawrence Chatters. I have been blessed with many mentors along the way who have prepared me for this opportunity. I am especially grateful for the mentorship from Coach Pepin, who brought me to the University of Nebraska. Lastly, without the support and encouragement from my wife, Keli, and our children, Carter and Eva, this journey wouldn’t be possible. The University of Nebraska is a world-class university with a rich track and field tradition, and I am excited to continue building on the momentum we’ve been creating over the last few months.”
As interim head coach, St. Clair has guided the Husker men and women to strong indoor seasons, as the NU men are No. 8 in this week’s USTFCCCA National Rankings, while the NU women are No. 17. The Husker men have climbed as high as No. 5 this season, their best indoor ranking since 2013. The Husker women at No. 17 have their best indoor national ranking since 2011.
The Huskers have a combined 11 athletes who currently rank in the top 16 nationally in their respective events, which would earn a bid to the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 10-11 in Albuquerque, N.M. It would mark the most NCAA Indoor Championships bids for the Huskers since 2011.
This indoor season, the Huskers have had 22 new all-time top-10 performances in school history, including three new school records in the heptathlon (Till Steinforth), women’s shot put (Axelina Johansson) and women’s weight throw (Taylor Latimer).
In 2022, St. Clair coached 10 NCAA qualifiers at Nebraska, including a pair of NCAA medalists in his debut season on the Husker coaching staff to earn his 10th USTFCCCA Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year honor since 2016. The Nebraska throwers had a combined five first-team All-Americans and two second-team All-Americans, led by Maddie Harris finishing second in the javelin and Axelina Johansson placing third in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Under St. Clair’s tutelage, the Huskers combined to set four school records and 13 top-10 marks in program history in throwing events last season. Nebraska had the top-ranked men’s shot put and weight throw groups throughout the indoor season, while the men’s shot put was ranked No. 1 for the final seven weeks of the outdoor season.
At the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships, St. Clair’s throwers garnered five Big Ten titles and totaled 11 top-three finishes. Three Husker throwers earned postseason awards in 2022, with Alex Talley and Maxwell Otterdahl named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championships in the indoor and outdoor seasons, respectively. After finishing as the top freshman nationally in any of the NCAA field events, Johansson was crowned the Big Ten Women’s Outdoor Freshman of the Year.
Representing Sweden at the World Athletics Championships in July, Johansson placed 12th in the women’s shot put after becoming the only current collegiate student-athlete to reach the final 12.
Prior to Nebraska, St. Clair spent 10 years as arguably the nation’s best throws coach while at North Dakota State. He was voted the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year with the Bison nine times since 2016 – five times indoors and four times outdoors. In 2019, St. Clair was voted the National Assistant Coach of the Year for men’s indoor track and field, and he followed that up by being one of three national finalists for the women’s award in 2020. He was promoted to associate director of the Bison track and field program in August of 2020, before joining the Huskers in May of 2021.
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