UNO announced Wednesday that Chris Richardson has been named the head coach of the track and field and cross country programs.
Richardson, who has served as an assistant for the Mavericks for the previous seven seasons, takes over for Steve Smith who stepped down as head coach after eight seasons for personal reasons.
“Chris has developed into an outstanding coach during his time at UNO, and the success of the athletes he works with speaks to that,” said Trev Alberts, UNO's athletic director. “It is always gratifying when we can promote from within, and Chris has certainly earned the opportunity to lead both programs.”
Richardson has helped guide the Mavericks to some of the most successful years in the program's history with three conference championships and three top five NCAA /Division II finishes, including a fourth-place at the 2010 indoor championships prior to the Mavericks' reclassification to Division I. Most recently, he has coached multi-eventer Sami Spenner to five school records in indoor and outdoor track. Last season, Spenner was named the Summit League's Field Championship MVP both indoors and outdoors and was the Summit's Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.
“I'm grateful for the opportunity to lead the program and continue the success that Coach Smith and I have had over the past seven years,” Richardson said. “My main goal is to ensure that our student-athletes have as many opportunities for success as possible in athletics as well as in the classroom.”
The Boulder, Colo., native attended the University of Nebraska where he was the 2004 Big 12 champion in the heptathlon.
The Mavericks also announced the hiring of Ryan Finley as a part-time assistant coach for sprints and jumps. An Omaha native and graduate of Omaha North High School, Finley graduated from South Dakota in 2003 and earned his master's in athletic administration from USD in 2006.