An Olympian and American-record holder in the mile and high school mile, Alan Webb, has joined the University of Arkansas at Little Rock staff as an associate head cross country and assistant track coach going into the 2019-20 season.
Webb will coach the cross country and distance athletes at Little Rock.
“I am excited to welcome Alan Webb and his family to Little Rock,” said J.P. Behnke, Little Rock’s director of track and field/cross country and the program’s head coach. “Throughout the interview process, I was very impressed with Alan’s understanding of all the distance events beyond the mile and middle distance races. During his 11-year pro career, he worked with some of the greatest track coaches in the world. Our distance athletes will greatly benefit from the knowledge and passion Alan brings to the Trojan distance program.”
Webb joins Little Rock’s Team after spending last season as an assistant coach at Portland State.
“I am really excited to join the Little Rock Trojans,” Webb said. “Coach Behnke has already taken big steps forward to make Little Rock a rising star in the Sun Belt Conference. That is why, when I learned about this opportunity, I wanted to join him. I am humbled that he has chosen me to coach the cross country and distance athletes. All of the athletes on the roster and incoming freshman have tons of potential to improve, and I look forward to supporting them. This is going to be awesome. Thank you to the athletes at Portland State for their dedication to running and the coaching staff for supporting my growth as a coach.”
At Portland State, Webb helped lead the Vikings to their best cross country season in program history in 2018. The Viking women tied their highest team finish ever at the Big Sky meet with a fifth-place finish, after being picked to finish in a tie for ninth. The Viking women followed it up with a 15th-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, their highest finish at the meet since they placed 11th in 2002.
Two of Portland State’s runners – Sarah Medved and Kaila Gibson – became the first Viking teammates to place in the top 40 together at the NCAA West Regional, just under two weeks after they became the first Viking teammates to place in the top 10 together at the Big Sky Conference meet. The Vikings had never had two runners place in the top 50 of the NCAA West Regional before Medved and Gibson, let alone the top 40. Medved’s set school records in the 4k and 6k races.
Webb brings a wealth of experience running at a world-class level to his role at Little Rock.
He announced himself as a world-class athlete in high school, when he broke Jim Ryun’s 36-year old American high school record in the mile at the 2001 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. Webb finished the mile in 3:53.43 to beat Ryun’s old record of 3:55.3 by nearly two full seconds. Additionally, Webb became the first American high schooler ever to crack four minutes in the indoor mile while breaking the national high school record with a time of 3:59.86 at the New Balance Games in 2001. Webb broke the American high school record in the indoor 1,500 meters in the same race, as he came through the 1,500 mark in 3:43.27.
Webb ran collegiately for the University of Michigan during the 2001-02 season, winning the Big Ten cross country title while also winning the Big Ten title in the outdoor 1,500 meters. A two-time All-American while at Michigan, he placed 11th at the 2001 NCAA Cross Country Championships and fourth in the 1,500 meters at the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Turning pro after the 2002 collegiate season, Webb signed with Nike where he would stay until his retirement from professional running in 2014. He became an Olympian in 2004, when he won the 1,500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento, California. Webb won the U.S. title in the 1,500 meters again in 2005, and went on to make the finals of the 1,500 meters at the World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki, Finland, later that year.
The 2007 season marked Webb’s best season professionally, as he won his third U.S. title in the 1,500 meters and placed eighth in the finals of the event at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan. Webb broke the American record in the mile in the leadup to the World Championships at a meet in Brasschaat, Belgium on July 21, 2007. Webb set the record with his finish in 3:46.91, breaking a 25-year-old record that Steve Scott set at 3:47.69 in 1982.
He also ran a lifetime best of 3:30.54 in the 1,500 meters – the fourth-fastest time ever by an American at the time – at the IAAF Golden League meet in Paris, France on July 6, 2007.
Webb began his coaching career in 2003, when he was an assistant cross country coach at South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia. He next served as a volunteer assistant for the University of Virginia cross country team in the fall of 2011, before serving in the same role for the Portland State in 2013.
He coached as a cross country assistant for Westview High School in Portland in the fall of 2015 and started as a Nike volunteer/running coach at that same time. Webb was a guest run coach for the Every Athlete *2.0 Product Test Training Program earlier in 2018, as well as a guest coach for Nike’s Marathon Kids and the WHQ Sport Center Noon Track Group. Additionally, Webb was a guest coach/speaker for the Nike Run Club in August of 2015, and was a sports marketing volunteer at the Nike Elite Camp in May 2016.
In addition to coaching, Webb has been a guest speaker at several camps and clinics. He delivered the keynote address at the 2018 Virginia High School Track Coaches Association in 2018. Webb also addressed the California University of Pennsylvania running camp in 2016, as well as the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse cross country camp in 2014. Also in 2014, Webb presented during the distance running session of the Wisconsin Track Coaches Association Clinic.
Webb married the former Julia Rudd in October 2010. The couple has three daughters; Joanie, Paula, and Gabriella. The family resides in Little Rock.