The Virginia Commonwealth University women’s track and field program will enter a new era when the Black and Gold hit the track for the 2008-2009 campaign as VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague announced the hiring of Jon Riley as the new head coach of the women’s track and field and cross country programs.
“We are ecstatic about the addition of Jon Riley to the VCU athletics family,” Teague said. “Jon brings a real vision for success to the program and will be a great leader for our women’s track program. I’m excited to watch him build our program into a force not only in the CAA, but also on the national level.”
Riley comes to Richmond after three seasons as the top assistant at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. In his three years with the Bruins, he specialized in the sprints and jumps, overseeing the national and regional success of athletes, such as Lynette Rives, Liz Pollock and Channing Twyner. Most recently, Rives was named an outdoor All-American by the USTFCCCA in the 200-meter as she posted back-to-back school records with times of 23.61 and 23.56 at the 2008 NCAA Championships.
Riley was also recently certified as a coach at the USATF Level II in Sprints/Hurdles/Relays and the USATF Level III in jumps.
"I'm truly excited about the opportunity of working at a great institution like VCU," Riley said. "I know it's going to be a great experience for both myself and the student-athletes. I'm looking forward to jumping right into it and getting to work."
Prior to his time at Belmont, he spent two years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Southeast Missouri State University. Riley spent his time coaching the jumpers, pole vaulters, javelin throwers and hurdlers and helped the women’s program capture three Ohio Valley Conference championships and numerous All-Conference awards.
His coaching career began right out of college as he spent five years as an assistant at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, known around the state of Louisiana as a powerhouse on the track.
In addition to his coaching experience, Riley was a two-sport standout athlete at Southeast Missouri State, lettering in both track and football. During his track career, he was a three-time NCAA provisional qualifier in the long and triple jumps, a five-time OVC individual champion and earned the 1996 OVC Track Athlete of the Year honor. He was also a four-year starter at wide receiver on the Redhawk football team and had a brief professional stint with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
He earned both his bachelor's degree in mass communications in 1998 and his master's degree in athletic administration in 2005 from Southeast Missouri State.