Linh Nguyen is the new director of the cross country and track and field program at The University of Toledo, UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced today.Nguyen comes to Toledo after coaching for the past 12 seasons at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the past seven as the head coach of the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams.
“I want to thank Mike O’Brien and Kelly Andrews (senior associate athletics director/senior woman administrator in Intercollegiate Athletics) for selecting me,” Nguyen said. “It’s a program with a lot of history and tradition, and I can’t wait to get there. The program has had a lot of success lately, and I think we can continue the success on a national level.”
“We are very excited to welcome Linh Nguyen as the new track and field and cross country coach at The University of Toledo,” O’Brien said. “Linh built a strong program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He not only had an excellent record at developing talent on the track, his student-athletes also showed a commitment to academic excellence. We believe his dedication to success makes him the perfect person to lead our track and cross country program.”
Under the leadership of Nguyen, the Spartans became a perennial contender in the Southern Conference, culminating in one of the best years in program history in 2011-12. Nguyen was named Southern Conference Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2011 after leading both the men’s and women’s teams to conference titles. Junior Paul Chelimo earned All-America honors under Nguyen’s guidance, the first runner in school history to earn that distinction.
In the 2012 outdoor track season, Nguyen coached Chelimo to a national runner-up finish in the 5,000-meter run, while freshman Paul Katam finished first in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAA Regional meet. Nguyen coached Chelimo and Katam to NCAA runner-up finishes in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runs, respectively, as the UNCG men’s team finished 15th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Nguyen began his coaching career in 2000 as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Lynchburg College in Virginia, before accepting an assistant coaching position at UNCG in 2002. He spent four years as an assistant before taking over head coaching duties for the Spartans at the start of the 2006 outdoor track and field season.
In 2007, his first season as head coach of the UNCG cross country team, the Spartans saw immediate success. Nguyen led the men’s team to its highest finish in school history at the SoCon Championship meet, placing third out of 11 teams.
As a student-athlete at Lynchburg, Nguyen earned eight all-conference selections and helped lead the cross country team to an Old Dominion Athletic Conference title in 1999. He graduated from Lynchburg in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine, and he earned a master’s degree in exercise physiology from UNCG in 2007.
Nguyen and his wife, Christina, have a 2-year-old son, Khoi, and just welcomed twins, a boy, Liem, and a girl, Vy Lan, June 10.