WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Purdue track & field and cross country program hired a new distance coach for the men's and women's teams, head track and cross country coach Lonnie Greene announced on Thursday (Aug. 7). Jeff Kent joins the Purdue staff after spending the last five years at the University of Arkansas as director of operations for the women's track and field program.
Kent and Greene have worked together in the past, as Greene was an assistant coach for the Arkansas women's program until 2012 when he was hired as Purdue's head coach. Kent also is familiar with the Big Ten Conference, as he graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in heath and sports studies.
"We are very pleased to have coach Jeff Kent join our staff as assistant cross country and track and field coach," Greene said. "He comes from a very strong pedigree and he has an understanding of what it takes to get our cross country and distance programs going. I feel he is a great fit to our staff's dynamic and I am excited to get him on board and going with the Boilermakers."
During Kent's time at Arkansas, the Razorbacks were one of the top track & field and cross country programs in the country. The women's team had six top-10 finishes at NCAA Track and Field Championship meets. The Razorback harriers advanced individuals to the NCAA Cross Country Championships each year he was there, including qualifying the team each of the last three years after winning regional championships. Arkansas finished in the top 20 all three of those years.
A native of Valparaiso, Ind., Kent ran collegiately at Ball State and Iowa on the cross country and track teams. The new Purdue distance coach specialized in the 3,000-meter run and 5,000-meter run, and finished 10th in the 5k at the Big Ten Indoor Championships during his senior year.
"Jeff is young and energetic, and brings a wide recruiting base from his previous institution where he assisted with on-campus recruiting," Greene said. "What is exciting about him is he's a native Hoosier and he competed in the Big Ten. He understands the type of student-athletes who can be successful in the Big Ten. I want to be one of the first to welcome Jeff into the Purdue athletic family. "
After earning his undergraduate degree from Iowa, Kent attended Delta State University (Cleveland, Miss.), where he earned a master's degree in health, physical education and recreation.
Kent is set to begin coaching the Boilermakers on Aug. 14, ahead of the start of the upcoming cross country season. Kent and Greene will finalize and release the schedule in the near future.