Elliott Lightfoot selected to lead Central State University track and field and cross country programs
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on January 15, 2021 |
The Central State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has selected Elliott Lightfoot to serve as CSU's next head coach for the sports of track and field and cross country.
"Coach Lightfoot has been successful at every stage of his career. He has recruited high achieving student-athletes while building championship caliber programs consisting of integrity and character,” says CSU Director of Athletics Tara A. Owens. “His detail-oriented coaching approach and passion to compete will excite our student-athletes as we continue to develop a championship culture at CSU.”
Lightfoot, who was virtual introduced to CSU student-athlete on Thursday, brings over 25 years of coaching experience and a national championship pedigree to Central State University.
Lightfoot has spent the last five seasons as a multi-sport coach in track and football at Cuthbertson High School in Waxhaw, North Carolina. During his time coaching the Cuthbertson track and field program, Lightfoot was part of a staff of three who built an upstart program and increased participation from 40 in 2016 to over 200 student-athletes by 2020. The Cuthbertson girls’ program have won four consecutive Indoor State Championships. The Cuthbertson boys claimed back-to-back state titles in the 4 x 200 meter relays (2019, 2020) and a 2019 state title in 4 x 400 meter relays with an individual, Aidan McNally, winning and individual title in the 300-meter dash. Prior to the cancellation of the Spring 2020 State Championships due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cuthbertson had set several school records and had over 30 qualifiers set to compete in the state meet.
Lightfoot spent the 2012 to 2015 seasons serving as the head track and field coach at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Lightfoot developed 39 All-Conference performers and 12 individual conference champions in addition to seven All-Americans, including Heather Gearity, who won back-to-back NCAA Div. III outdoor national titles in the 400 meter hurdles in 2012 and 2013.
Lightfoot’s best overall team performances while coaching at Montclair State came in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
In 2015, MSU won four events at the NJAC Indoor Championships, including a sweep of the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relays. Montclair earned five spots on the All-NJAC Team. In the outdoor season, the Red Hawks won six events at the NJAC Championships and had nine athletes named to the All-Conference squad. Sophomore Rasheed Amilcar was chosen as the Outstanding Athlete of the Year, the first MSU athlete to win that award since 2008. Montclair State also returned to the NCAA Outdoor Championships on the men’s side for the first time since 2011 as sophomore javelin thrower Robert Kessler and the 4x400 relay team represented MSU at the national meet.
In 2014, MSU was represented at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championship by Gearity along with NJAC Outdoor Rookie of the Year Nicosia Henry and the 4 x 400-meter relay team. Gearity placed fourth in the 400 meter hurdles and the 4 x 400-meter relay squad placed seventh as each collected All-America honors.
During his tenure as Montclair State’s head coach, the team’s cumulative grade point average was over a 3.0 with over 75% of individuals achieving a 3.1+ GPA.
Lightfoot came to Montclair State following a very successful coaching and administrative career at his alma mater, Lincoln University. Lightfoot served as LU’s Assistant Athletic Director and as an assistant coach in track and football from 2006 to 2011. Lightfoot coached alongside Hall of Fame track coach and mentor Cyrus Jones. Lightfoot’s main focus was on the development of the sprinters and hurdlers. While coaching at LU, Lightfoot’s indoor men’s team won the NCAA Div. III national title in 2007. Lightfoot helped in the development of multiple LU standout sprinters including Bobby Young, who became the second Div.
III track athlete to win three consecutive 400-meter dash titles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and set a LU school standard with 22 All-American performances. In addition, the LU women climbed to as high as sixth in the nation with Shanda Jackson winning the individual national title in the 100-meter dash in 2006. Jackson, who earned NCAA Div. III Female Athlete of the Year honors, also led the 4 x 400 relay team to the national title.
“I certainly owe a lot to my mentor Coach Cyrus Jones,” says Lightfoot. “It isn’t often that you get the opportunity to coach alongside a Hall of Famer. I remain humbled by my experiences as a student-athlete, coach and administrator at LU. Through Coach Jones’ guidance, I have been able to develop a coaching style and work ethic that translates well with student-athletes and correlates with success in competition as well as in the everyday world.”
Lightfoot’s administrative duties as Assistant Athletic Director included fundraising, facility operations, and game day operations. As part of LU’s newly launched football program, Lightfoot primarily was responsible for special teams, defensive backs, and recruiting.
Lightfoot’s additional experience includes coaching football at Valley Forge Military Academy & College, Sto-Rox High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Harold S. Vincent High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Achieving numerous accolades and achievements while coaching football, Lightfoot was named City Coach of the Year while guiding Vincent to the first round of the state playoffs and winning the city championship. Lightfoot also served as the assistant track coach at Vincent where he helped the 2003 and 2005 teams win the Wisconsin state championships.
“Coaching has afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with so many amazing individuals. Together, the teams I have been a part of have experienced great success,” says Lightfoot. “Team success is a byproduct of everyone doing the right things, even when nobody is watching. If we continue to put the right things in place at CSU and keep everyone engaged, success will be unavoidable.”
A standout student-athlete, Lightfoot was a member of the Lincoln's first NCAA Div. III Outdoor Track and Field national championship team in 1985 and was a five-time all-American as a sprinter. His teams also had three national runner-up finishes during his collegiate career. Lightfoot, who was named a captain as a sophomore, primarily ran in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, 4 x 100-meter relay and 4 x 200-meter relay. In 2019, Lightfoot was inducted into LU’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
“I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to coach at Central State University and the support of President Dr. Jack Thomas, Director of Athletics Tara A. Owens and the entire CSU community. I especially want to thank my family for their unwavering support throughout professional endeavors.” Lightfoot says. “As I approach this new chapter in my coaching career, I do so with a relentless work ethic and an unmatched drive to succeed. I look forward to working with our student-athletes to help push this program forward to new heights from a conference, regional and national standpoint.”
Lightfoot and his wife Kimberly have three children, Donneisha, Kennedy, and Elliott. Coach Lightfoot is the proud son of Dr. James and Rev. MaryAnn Lightfoot.
Coach Lightfoot will officially begin his duties at Central State University on February 1.
ABOUT CENTRAL STATE UNIVERSITY MARAUDER ATHLETICS
Central State University competes as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on the Division II level. The university currently fields teams in eleven sports: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's indoor track and field, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, and men’s and women’s volleyball. Central State is currently affiliated with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
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