Veteran track and field coach Wes Kittley enters his eighth season at the helm of the Texas Tech track and field program following his hiring in July of 1999. Kittley has resurrected the program and catapulted Texas Tech track and field on to the national scene.
During his time at Tech, Kittley has brought the program up from ground level, turning it into a powerhouse of a program. The 2005 season is considered by most to be the best season either program has ever seen. The men's squad won the 2005 Big 12 Outdoor Championships, the first track and field team title for Texas Tech. The men also boasted four individual champions in Jonathan Johnson (800M), Tyree Gailes (200M), Marlon Odom (110M hurdles) and Bryan Scott (400M hurdles). The women's squad placed a program-best third and had one individual champion in Shereefa Lloyd (400M).
Also at the conference meet, Althea Chambers finished in third place in the 800M, setting a new school record of 2:05.30.
After a successful conference meet, Kittley led 31 of his athletes, the most out of any program in the country, to Sacramento for the 2005 Outdoor National Championships. The Red Raiders' trip to the West Coast was also successful. Nine Red Raiders brought 10 All-America awards back to the Hub City.
Lubbock's resident track and field guru got his coaching start just south of Lubbock, in Abilene.
Kittley moved to Lubbock after leading one of the most successful programs in the history of track and field. At Abilene Christian University, Kittley won an unprecedented 29 national track and field championships, the most in Divisions I and II combined. His total is only three short of the all-time record held by Division III Kenyon College swimming and diving coach Jim Steen.
Kittley was born and raised in Rule, Texas, and attended Rule High School, where he was a state champion on the mile relay. He was a three-time NAIA All-American in the 800M at Abilene Christian, earning a bachelor's degree in physical education and a master's degree in school administration.
In 1983, he was hired to coach the women's track and field team at his alma mater, beginning his illustrious career at the helm of the Wildcat program.
Kittley won his first national championship in 1985 when his women's Wildcat squad won the Division II outdoor championship, a title he would win again in `86, '87 and `88. When ACU combined their programs in 1993, Kittley was selected to head the men's team, as well. He wasted no time taking a floundering men's program to an elite level, winning the Division II indoor title in his first season.
Aside from his coaching duties, Kittley had also assumed an administrative role at ACU. In 1997, he added the additional duties of associate director of athletics to his resume.
His 15-year tenure at ACU included coaching 12 Olympic qualifiers, three Pan-American Games athletes, five World University Games athletes, 16 athletes who have qualified for the world championships and one United States national champion.
In the fall of 2006, Kittley was honored by the Lone Star Conference for his coaching efforts while at ACU. He was named to the conference's Hall of Honor, the sixth Wildcat to do so and 31st overall.
During his time at Texas Tech, Kittley has coached 30 student-athletes to 70 All-American titles. He has trained two national champions, directly guiding one in his fifth year with the Red Raiders. Jonathan Johnson was crowned the national champion in the 800M during the 2004 outdoor season. Johnson was also the Big 12 and Midwest regional champion in the 800M during the same season.
Kittley traveled to Athens, Greece to coach former Red Raider Johnson in the 2004 Olympic Games. Johnson, the 2002-2005 Big 12 and NCAA champion in the 800M, qualified for the Olympics at the U.S. Trials in Sacramento, Calif. Kittley coached Johnson to a time of 1:44.77 at the Olympic Trials, a personal-best and the fastest time ran in the U.S. that year.
After winning 29 national championships, Kittley feels another championship could be on the brink, especially with his seven years of recruiting fully developed.
Kittley is married to the former Linda Rhoads, and the couple has three boys, Zachary, Christopher and Jonathan.