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New track coach calls Illinois ‘a sleeping giant’ – News-Gazette

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois made a significant move in an attempt to bolster its track and field program Tuesday with the hire of Petros Kyprianou.

The former Georgia coach won two national titles with the Bulldogs in 2018 — one women’s indoor and one men’s outdoor — and also had nine other top-four finishes at the NCAA championships in his tenure in Athens, Ga.

“I saw the opening and I always thought the University of Illinois was — I like to use this term all the time and it might be a little cheesy — a sleeping giant,” Kyprianou told The News-Gazette on Tuesday at the time Illinois announced the hiring. “We’ve just got to do simple things extraordinarily well. You’ve got to be very strategic and innovative. That’s what I did at Georgia, and it led us to success in a fairly short amount of time.”

Kyprianou spent 13 years at Georgia, including seven as the Bulldogs’ head coach, before leaving the program last year at the end of the 2020-21 season. He spent the last year as the director of sports performance at Episcopal School in Jacksonville, Fla.

Kyprianou was named the United States Track & Field/CC Coaches Association 2018 Indoor & Outdoor National Coach of the Year after the Bulldogs won their first two NCAA team titles. He was also the 2017 Outdoor National Women’s Coach of the year after Georgia was narrowly beat out for the national title by Oregon.

Illinois’ commitment to its track and field program by hiring Kyprianou will also likely be a financial one. He was paid a salary of $430,000 in his final season at Georgia. He will receive a five-year contract at Illinois, pending Board of Trustees approval in September, but his salary was not disclosed.

Illinois hired Kyprianou to replace Mike Turk, who was fired earlier this month after 11 years as a head coach for the Illini. The Limassol, Cyprus, native had previous stops as an assistant coach with the Greek national team and as an assistant Nebraska-Omaha and Boise State before joining the Georgia staff in 2008.

Kyprianou, who specializes in decathlon and heptathlon, has also coached four different national teams in the last three Olympics.

Some of the athletes he coached include heptathlete and 2020 Olympians Kendell Williams and Garrett Scantling, U.S. women’s triple jump record holder and eight-time NCAA champion Keturah Orji, multiple Estonian decathletes, including two-time NCAA champion Maicel Uibo, 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Omar McLeod and viral sensation sprinter and 2021 indoor national champion Matthew Boling.

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is [email protected], and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

Source: https://www.news-gazette.com/sports/new-track-coach-calls-illinois-a-sleeping-giant/article_df3555f4-d39e-54f3-9296-5895e0a19da7.html

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois made a significant move in an attempt to bolster its track and field program Tuesday with the hire of Petros Kyprianou.

The former Georgia coach won two national titles with the Bulldogs in 2018 — one women’s indoor and one men’s outdoor — and also had nine other top-four finishes at the NCAA championships in his tenure in Athens, Ga.

“I saw the opening and I always thought the University of Illinois was — I like to use this term all the time and it might be a little cheesy — a sleeping giant,” Kyprianou tol…….

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois made a significant move in an attempt to bolster its track and field program Tuesday with the hire of Petros Kyprianou.

The former Georgia coach won two national titles with the Bulldogs in 2018 — one women’s indoor and one men’s outdoor — and also had nine other top-four finishes at the NCAA championships in his tenure in Athens, Ga.

“I saw the opening and I always thought the University of Illinois was — I like to use this term all the time and it might be a little cheesy — a sleeping giant,” Kyprianou tol…….

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