WSSU Names Halcyon M. Blake Head Track And Field/Cross Country Coach

Jan. 17, 2006

Winston-Salem, NC - Winston-Salem State University Director of Athletics, Dr. Chico Caldwell announced on Tuesday afternoon that Halcyon M. Blake has been selected as the Rams' and Lady Rams' permanent head track and field/cross country coach following the duties of departed interim head coach Benny Morgan.  Blake will begin her position at WSSU effective January 17, 2006 as she prepares the Rams and Lady Rams for their first season of track and field competition after nearly a five-year layoff. 


Winston-Salem State University, who has not fielded a track and field team since 2001, will return to the track for their first season of competition this spring (2006) as the Rams have revived a program that, at one time, fielded one of the most talented track and field teams in the nation.  The Rams will return to Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) conference track and field competition in the spring as Blake looks to help WSSU capture a CIAA track and field championship in only their first year of competition. 

The ultra-competitive CIAA, which already possesses several of the nation's premier indoor and outdoor track and field programs in Saint Augustine's College, North Carolina Central University and Livingstone College, will welcome WSSU into league competition this spring.   The Rams will bring with them a history of track and field excellence that directly mirrors the success of several other great traditions of track and field which proliferate the conference.

Continuing the rich traditions and legacy of the once heralded Winston Salem State University Track and Field programs, Blake takes over as the new head coach for both the men's and women's cross country and track and field programs.  Blake comes to WSSU after serving as both the head coach for men's and women's cross country/track and field teams at Methodist College in Fayetteville, NC.


Halcyon Blake brings tremendous credentials to a program in its nurturing stages.  She has over 24 years of coaching experience.  She has coached the Methodist teams to perennial runner-up finishes for the past five and a half years in the Mason Dixon and USA South Conferences.  While there she was named Coach of the Year and has produced over 97 All-Conference and First-Team student-athlete honors.  Under her tutelage, 10 student-athletes received Academic All-America honors and over 19 student athletes have were recognized on the Dean's and President's Lists. Under her guidance, she has seen student-athletes named the South/Southeast Regional Champion in cross country (2005) and the Mason Dixon, USA South Conference Champion in cross country in the same season.  On the track she has produced over 18 NCAA National qualifiers and Indoor and Outdoor 55m, 400m Long Jump, Triple Jump, Shot Put, 100m and 200m champions as well as both the men's and women's Hammer Throw Conference Champions. 


Prior to Methodist College, Blake led more than 16 All-Americans while at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her sprinters and jumpers were instrumental in winning the ACC Championship in both the Men's and Women's divisions at Clemson University in 1999. Her Men's 4x100m Relay finished 3rd at the NCAA Championships in Boise, Idaho in 1999.  While at Carolina, Blake's sprinters won many ACC Championships as the sprinters and jumpers dominated the conference.


As the mentor of the Pine Forest High School programs in Fayetteville, NC, Blake's teams have won State, Regional and Conference Championship titles.


As an athlete, Halcyon Blake attended The University of Kansas where she excelled as a Sprinter and Long Jumper.  Blake, a three time Olympian had the women's long jump named after her in 1995 at the Kansas Relays.  She won the Triple Crown at Texas, and Drake and the Kansas Relays from 1981-1983.  She is an 11-time All-American in the 4x400mRelay and Long Jump.  She still holds the women's long jump record at the University of Kansas and the Kansas Relays.  In 2003, Halcyon Blake was inducted in the John F. Kennedy High School Hall of Fame and the New State Public Schools Athletic League November, 2003.


Halcyon Blake is a certified USATF Coach, a member of NACWAHERS foundations, a member of the NCAA coaches foundation, a member of the North Carolina HS Athletic Association, a graduate of the Women's Coaches Academy, a member of the Women's Sports Foundation, a member of the Black Coaches Association, and has coached nine former or current Olympians and continues to be a mentor to elite athletes.


Blake is a graduate of the University of Kansas in Applied Behavioral Science/Human Development and Family Life.  Blake was chosen as the Rams' and Lady Rams' head track and field and cross-country coach following a national search that produced a very diverse, and very qualified pool of candidates.

Speaking on WSSU's decision to name Blake the Rams' and Lady Rams' head coach, WSSU Director of Athletics, Dr. Chico Caldwell had the following comment:

"After having gone through a national search and the interview and selection processes, Halcyon Blake has accepted the challenge of getting the Track and Field program at WSSU off the ground after a nearly five-year layoff as we try to return the program to the prominence of previous years, and as we transition to the NCAA Division I level.  She is supremely qualified and will bring a level of coaching and recruiting ability to a program that is beginning its re-development stages.  Despite the infancy of our program we expect great things from Coach Blake and her program and we are pleased that we could bring someone as talented and motivated as Halcyon Blake on board as we revive the track and field programs, and take our cross-country teams to the next level."

For additional information on WSSU men's and women's track and field, or other WSSU athletic programs, or to arrange interviews with coaches, administrators, or student-athletes, contact the WSSU Office of Sports Information at (336) 750-2143.

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