Former Olympian LaTanya Sheffield joins 49er track & field as assistant coach
Oct. 22, 2012
LONG BEACH - LaTanya Sheffield, a former Olympian and American record holder, has been named an assistant track and field coach at Long Beach State, head coach Andy Sythe announced Monday. Sheffield will work with the sprinters, hurdlers and relays.
"I am very excited to have LaTanya Sheffield join our coaching staff," Sythe said. "She has many skills that will be important in the development of our men's and women's sprinters and hurdlers. Beyond her coaching abilities, her international experience and success along with her competitive nature will be drawn upon to elevate our program and achieve the high standards we have set. I see her motivational attitude as being just one more attribute that will help inspire a new generation of great sprinters and hurdlers at Long Beach State."
As an athlete, Sheffield was an Olympic finalist in the 400m hurdles at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea, and represented the United States at the 1987 World Championships. She was also a two-time gold medalist at the Olympic Sports Festival (1987, 1993) and won a bronze medal at the 1987 Pan American Games.
Sheffield, who established an American record in the 400m hurdles in 1985, also excelled at San Diego State where she was a two-time All-American and 1985 NCAA Champion (400H). She was inducted into the SDSU Athletics' Hall of Fame in 1993.
Since 2007, Sheffield has served on the USA Track & Field Development Committee as the event chair for women's hurdles. She was also an assistant coach for USA Track & Field (2006-08, 2011), working with the sprints, hurdles and relays at the World Indoor Championships and the Pan American Games.
In addition, Sheffield was an assistant coach at Canyon del Oro High School and the head coach of the POPS Track Club in Tucson, Ariz. She helped lead Canyon del Oro's girls' team to two state championships, while the boys' squad had a pair of state runner-up finishes during her tenure. Sheffield also coached the 2012 ESPN High School Gatorade Player of the Year.
Under her tutelage, Sheffield saw a number of her POPS Track Club team members qualify for the Junior Olympic National Championships, including a 2011 champion in the 400 hurdles, a 2011 junior national record holder in the long jump and a 2010 finalist in the steeplechase.
Sheffield is also a professional motivational speaker and is the founder and president of Sports Extravaganza, Inc., a non-profit organization that focuses on fighting childhood obesity. She was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in Tucson in 2012. Sheffield has also been honored with the USATF Youth Division President's Award (2010), Sam Lacy Sports Pioneer Award (2010) and NAACP Community Service Recognition Award (2008).
Sheffield earned her bachelor's degree in sport management from the United States Sports Academy in 2011.