Shawn Venable (left) and Brant Tolsma (right) are two of Liberty's track & field/cross country coaching staff members who received new titles on Tuesday.
Less than two weeks away from the start of the 2018 indoor track & field season, Brant Tolsma announced a number of promotions among his Liberty track & field/cross country coaching staff.
Tolsma will continue to oversee all six of Liberty's men's and women's track & field/cross country teams with a new title of Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. Andrew "Pete" McFadden and Clendon Henderson have both been promoted to Associate Head Track & Field Coach. Tim Sykes will now serve as Head Cross Country Coach while continuing as Assistant Track & Field Coach. Finally, Shawn Venable is now the program's Recruiting Coordinator along with his Assistant Track & Field Coach duties.
Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Brant Tolsma Tolsma is in his 32nd year at Liberty overall and his 27th year with oversight of Liberty men's and women's cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. He has coached 104 conference championship teams with the Flames, including 94 Big South championships, seven Mason-Dixon crowns and three IC4A titles.
Associate Head Track & Field Coach Andrew "Pete" McFadden McFadden is the longest-tenured member of Tolsma's current staff, serving as a full-time assistant for the 11th consecutive season in 2018. He coaches the Flames' sprinters, and his charges have been as strong as ever in recent years. In 2016, Liberty won 13 of the 22 events McFadden coaches at the Big South Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Last season, he coached the Big South Indoor Women's Freshman of the Year (Tanner Ealum) and the Big South Men's Outstanding Track Performer (Stephen Racanelli).
Associate Head Track & Field Coach Clendon Henderson Henderson will coach the Flames' throwers for the 10th season in 2018. He has taken a thrower to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships during six of his nine years on staff, headlined by women's hammer All-Americans Melinda Bendik and Jocelyn Williams. Henderson's throwers have won 46 Big South event titles and four ECAC event crowns while breaking school records in seven different events.
Head Cross Country Coach/Assistant Track & Field Coach Tim Sykes Sykes has made an immediate impact since arriving at Liberty in January 2017. He coached Azaria Kirwa to his first All-America honor at the 2017 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. Under Sykes' direction, the Liberty men's cross country team came in seventh at the 2017 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, marking the Flames' best regional performance since 2012. He also played an integral role in Liberty's hosting of the 2017 Big South Cross Country Championships.
Assistant Track & Field Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Shawn Venable Venable has contributed to two of the most impressive recruiting classes in program history since joining the coaching staff in the fall of 2016. The Flames' current crop of newcomers on campus for the 2018 indoor and outdoor track & field seasons is headlined by 2016 Olympian Alejandro Perlaza Zapata from Colombia. Meanwhile, Liberty has already inked 14 athletes who will arrive at Liberty this fall. In competition, Venable's hurdlers and jumpers combined to set six school records in 2017.
Liberty will begin its 2018 indoor track & field schedule at the Keydet Invitational, Jan. 19-20 in Lexington, Va. The following weekend (Jan. 26-27), the Flames will open their second season of competition at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex with the Liberty Kickoff.
For the first time in program history, Liberty will play host to the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, Feb. 23-24.