The 2011-12 season will mark Warren Bye's sixth year as head coach of the University of South Florida track and field/cross country teams and his eighth year overall with the program. Following two years as an assistant coach, Bye was tabbed the interim head coach before being formally named to the head coach position on July 12, 2006.
Individually, Bye works with the men's sprinters and relays, the men's and women's hurdlers, and the combined events. The list of accomplishments by all of USF athletes during Bye's head coaching tenure has grown tremendously throughout his first four years.
During his head coaching tenure, Bye has mentored USF athletes to two U.S. Junior National Championships, one U.S. Olympic Trials final, three All-America honors, eight BIG EAST titles, 31 individual and three relay All-BIG EAST performances, 11 NCAA Championship appearances and 46 NCAA Prelim (formally NCAA Regional) appearances.
The back-to-back U.S. Junior National Championships in 2009 (Casey Wagner, javelin) and 2010 (Neamen Wise, decathlon) were the first two junior national titles ever won by a USF student-athlete since the program's first full season in 1992.
Wagner went on to place fifth at the 2009 Junior Pan Am Games following her U.S. junior national title, while Wise took 12th at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2010.
In addition, USF athletes have continually qualified for BIG EAST championships, set school records and posted top-5 all-time performances during his tenure.
A total of 20 school records between men's and women's outdoor track and field and women's indoor track and field have been set during Bye's head coaching stint. For men's outdoor track and field alone, 40 performances have landed USF student-athletes on the top-5 all-time list during Bye's first four years at the helm of the program.
In 2010, the men's sprinters posted six of the top-5 fastest times ever at USF in the 100, 200 and 400 meters combined. Indoors, Reshaw Exilien (400 meters), Lindsey Lamar (60 meters) and the 4x400 relay all took third at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships, while the 4x100 relay took third at the outdoor conference meet to earn all-conference honors.
The biggest highlight of the season along with Wise's U.S. junior national title, though, was sophomore David Aristil, who won the BIG EAST title in the 400 hurdles before going on to earn All-America status and take fifth at the NCAA Championships. He followed that up with an eighth-place showing at the USA Senior National Championships to cap a remarkable season.
Bye also directed coached senior Yvana Hepburn to 20th place in the 100 hurdles at the NCAA East Prelim. Hepburn had her best season to date in 2010 when she posted the second-fastest time ever at USF in 13.40 seconds and took second at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.
During his tenure, Bye's teams have also improved their standing in the BIG EAST Conference. In the first four years, the women's team has gone from 16th place in 2007 at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships to 11th, 10th and finally seventh in 2010. Indoors, the Bulls have gone from 15th in 2007 to 10th in 2010.
The men have been equally as impressive at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships, finishing eighth Bye's first year before placing seventh the next two years. With several key members of the team not at 100 percent, the men's track and field team still managed a respectable eighth-place finish in 2010.
Bye's teams have also done well in the classroom, as both the women's track and field team and the cross country team have earned USTFCCCA Division I All-Academic team honors the last three years. In taking the award that first year, the 2007 women's cross country team also had the nation's highest GPA. In the spring of 2010, members of the men's cross country team joined their brethren when they too earned all-academic team honors.
During the past three seasons, USF has also had 12 track athletes named to the individual Division I All-Academic team by the USTFCCCA, including six in 2010 alone.
In addition to his solid coaching background, Bye's experience in facility development at previous stops at Louisville and Indiana proved instrumental as USF embarked on a $2.79 million upgrade on the outdoor soccer/track and field facility located a stone's throw away from the USF Athletic Building. That project was completed in Sept. 2008. The upgrades included the addition of a Mondotrack surface, known to be the fastest, most durable and safest track surfaces in the world today and the same style that was used in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. USF became the fourth university in the country at the time to install the surface.
Other improvements made to the facility during that construction under Bye's guidance included new runways for the javelin, long jump, triple jump and pole vault, new and improved areas for the high jump and throws, and an eight-lane, 400-meter track that features 48-inch lanes, a six-inch increase from the former design.
That construction also included new lights and a new scoreboard capable of showing live results after a race. Bye was a key member of the staff that helped organize the very first USF/Steinbrenner Invitational, a high school meet held at USF in March 2010 that had fans, coaches and athletes raving about the USF track and field facility.
Some called it one of the best high school meets ever held on Florida's west coast, wrote Bill Ward in the Tampa Tribune.
Prior to being named head coach, Bye served two years with the Bulls as an assistant coach, specializing in horizontal jumps and combined events. With Bye's help, the Bulls had seven athletes qualify in eight events for the 2006 NCAA East Regional, as well as three advance to the national meet in Sacramento, Calif. In addition to managing USF's home meets, Bye also worked as an EXCEL counselor in USF's Academic Services.
Bye came to USF from the University of Louisville, where he was the women's cross country and track and field head coach from 2002-04. In addition to training NCAA qualifiers and conference champions at Louisville, he was recognized for three straight years by the NCAA for the team's grade point average.
Bye began his six-year tenure at Louisville in 1998 as an assistant coach, focusing on sprints, hurdles, jumps and combined events. He guided the Cardinals to their highest point totals ever at both the indoor and outdoor Conference USA Championships in 2002. Louisville's fifth-place showing at the outdoor meet equaled the highest finish by the Cards in 12 years. Prior to that, he was the sprint, hurdles, jumps and combined-event coach for both the men's and women's teams.
In just five short years while at the University of Louisville, Bye was involved in more than 40 of the team's indoor and outdoor school records. In three years as head coach, Bye had six individual Conference USA champions and 20 athletes finish among the top three at the indoor and outdoor conference meets. Bye coached six NCAA Mid-East Regional qualifiers in two years and one NCAA qualifier in the high jump.
In the classroom at Louisville, the women's program placed an astounding 25 of 30 student-athletes on the Spring Athletic Director's honor roll for maintaining a 3.0 grade point average for the semester. The program maintained its highest two-year GPA (3.24 in 2001-02; 3.29 in 2002-03) since those records were first kept in 1988-89.
Bye's coaching experience extends to his alma mater, Indiana University, where he was a volunteer assistant from 1996-98. During that same period, he was Executive Director of the Indiana Track Club in Bloomington, Ind. Under his guidance, the club's membership increased from 70 to 250 members in just one season.
Also at IU, he worked with legendary coach Sam Bell, who developed numerous Olympic athletes and is an inspiration to Bye. "Warren is perceptive, cares about kids and is very knowledgeable about the sport," said Bell, now retired. "His mind is like a sponge when it comes to absorbing information on how to make improvements. He is an exceptional coaching talent who has a bright future in the sport of track and field."
In all, Bye has more than 20 years of coaching experience, with 20010-11 marking his 15th year at the NCAA Division I level. He is well versed in the technical events, having shared coaching and training duties with both former NCAA Decathlon Champion Kerry Zimmerman (Indiana '83) and 2000 Heptathlon Olympian De Nathan (Indiana '91).
Bye, a former decathlete who specialized in the jumps and hurdles at Indiana, earned a bachelor of science in kinesiology-teaching (K-12) in 2000 from Indiana. He landed at Indiana after a successful high school career at Crawford County High in Marengo, Ind.