BREAKING NEWS Remains found inside crawl space in Fulton Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Chris Woods named MSU track and field head coach; April Thomas promoted to associate head coach

After guiding the Mississippi State men’s team to its third-highest point total in school history at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this month, Chris Woods has been named head coach of the Bulldog men’s and women’s track and field teams, Director of Athletics John Cohen announced on Friday.

Posted: Jun 15, 2019 7:47 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - After guiding the Mississippi State men’s team to its third-highest point total in school history at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this month, Chris Woods has been named head coach of the Bulldog men’s and women’s track and field teams, Director of Athletics John Cohen announced on Friday.

“We conducted a national search, and the best fit for our next head coach was right here in Starkville,” Cohen said. “I am excited for Chris and the future of Mississippi State track and field. Chris knows exactly what it means to be a Bulldog having lettered and served as assistant coach and interim head coach at Mississippi State. Our program continues to produce many of the world’s best, All-Americans and champions at a record pace. Chris understands what it takes for our program to continue the path to championships and develop our student-athletes to the fullest. My sincere congratulations goes out to Chris, Wanda, Trace and Cade.”

“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” Woods said. “It’s an honor to serve my alma mater and a dream come true. I would like to thank my family who stuck with me through the process. I also would like to thank John Cohen and (President) Mark Keenum for this wonderful opportunity. I love Mississippi State. It’s important that every day, we put our best foot forward always in the best interest of Mississippi State. My vision for Mississippi State track and field is for us to climb even further heights with the focus on winning championships.”

In addition, throws coach April Thomas has been promoted to associate head coach. The leader of “JavU,” Thomas’ squad swept the men’s javelin podium at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, marking the first time since 1964 that a school had achieved the feat. Thomas was tabbed USTFCCCA South Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year last month.

Woods had served as the interim head coach since Sept. 20, 2018, after five seasons as a sprinters and relays coach for both the MSU men and women. With its 11th-place and 24-point showing at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, State secured its third-highest point total in program history and second-best mark since 1982. Woods helped guide the men and women to a combined seven All-America honors this outdoor season.

MSU's men put together the most-decorated outdoor season in program history, claiming more SEC Athletes of the Week and USTFCCCA National Athletes of the Week than ever before along with four All-America accolades.

The Bulldogs put six men on the podium at the SEC Championships, the most since State earned eight medals in 2003. They finished the conference meet with 57 points, their highest total since 2012. MSU's eighth-place SEC Outdoors finish was its best since 2015. Woods spearheaded the Bulldogs to nine medals, representing their most since 2003.

In addition, a total of 28 men and women athletes qualified for the NCAA East Prelims, which was a program record. The Bulldog men broke two school records, including the oldest, untied, Championship-event record in the program's record book.

The highlight of the 2019 outdoor season came when The Bowerman semifinalist Anderson Peters led an MSU javelin sweep of the podium. Peters successfully defended his national title, becoming the first MSU athlete to claim consecutive national championships. He threw a personal-best 86.62m (284-2), breaking his own school, meet and national records. Peters landed three attempts beyond 84.00m and threw six collegiate all-time top-10 marks this year alone.

State's trio of Peters, Curtis Thompson and Tyriq Horsford was just the 11th sweep of any event podium in NCAA history. Stephen Jones broke Simeon Kigen's steeplechase record that had stood since 1982 by one second. In all, nine new marks landed in the men's all-time top five this year.

On the women’s side, Tiffany Flynn and Logan Boss both earned All-America status to close their storied careers earlier this month. Flynn finished eighth in the triple jump with a leap of 13.32m (43-8.5), while Boss tied for 12th in the high jump, clearing 1.78m (5-10.0). The 2019 outdoor season saw four women's school records fall along with two freshmen records. The Bulldogs added 14 new marks to the program's all-time outdoor top five.

In his time as an assistant, Woods coached Bulldog athletes to 17 All-American selections and two SEC championships. His student-athletes hold 40 times in the MSU record books. In 2018 alone, Woods' athletes put 15 new marks among the top five in MSU history.

Four of the top five times in both the men's and women's indoor 4x400m relay came under his watch. In the men's indoor 800m, the only time among the top five that he did not coach is his own set in 2008, which is still the fourth-fastest in school history.

In 2018, he led Ro'Derick Spears to a school-record 13.65 in the outdoor 110m hurdles. Spears also joined Herbert Wise III, Willie-Lionel Reed and Charles Brockman III to break the school record in the outdoor shuttle hurdle relay twice that year. He also coached the 400m leg of the women's indoor distance medley relay that set the MSU record in 2017 and the women's indoor 4x400m relay team that broke that record in 2015.

Woods competed as a Middle Distance athlete for the Maroon and White from 2005-08. As a student-athlete, Woods garnered two-time All-America honors and four-time All-SEC accolades.

Before coming to MSU, Woods served as head coach for the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Prior to his time with Claflin, Woods was instrumental in the success of Abilene Christian University’s track and field program as the men’s and women’s long sprints, middle and long distance coach. Under his direction at Abilene Christian, Woods aided his team to back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships in men’s track and field.

In 2011, Woods coached five runners who garnered multiple honors. Desmond Jackson claimed five All-America honors, Amos Sang claimed four All-America accolades, while Jordan Geary, Partis Rovertson and Lavance Williams each claimed All-America honors under Woods’ direction.

In 2010, Woods coached nine All-America athletes, including multiple All-America honorees Desmond Jackson, James Hardin and Amos Sang.

A native of Covington, Georgia, Woods graduated from MSU in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in clinical exercise physiology. Woods is married to former two-time Olympian Wanda Hutson. The couple has two sons, Trace and Cade.

What They Are Saying …

“Mississippi State got it right. Chris is a son of the soil. He’s a Mississippi State Bulldog true and true. He will carry the banner of his alma mater to high heights. He will do it the right way and work hard to see Mississippi State continue at the level at which they’re doing it and reach beyond to even greater.”
- Lonnie Greene, Kentucky Head Coach

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 256827

Reported Deaths: 5638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17331186
Hinds16373328
Harrison13731199
Rankin10854217
Jackson10557187
Lee8922141
Madison8335166
Jones6483112
Forrest6038120
Lauderdale5965187
Lowndes5425118
Lafayette503193
Lamar490865
Washington4826124
Bolivar4024109
Oktibbeha397681
Panola374680
Pontotoc369855
Monroe3591105
Warren3569100
Union348063
Marshall347769
Neshoba3413152
Pearl River3329103
Leflore3059107
Lincoln299386
Sunflower288271
Hancock282559
Tate274362
Alcorn267454
Itawamba265260
Pike264679
Scott250847
Prentiss248252
Yazoo247356
Tippah244450
Copiah243949
Coahoma242254
Simpson238368
Leake232966
Grenada220671
Covington215072
Marion215073
Adams207870
Wayne203232
Winston202667
George201939
Newton195044
Attala194659
Tishomingo191661
Chickasaw185744
Jasper174438
Holmes169168
Clay161335
Tallahatchie148235
Stone145921
Clarke141762
Calhoun137621
Smith122725
Yalobusha119134
Walthall112836
Noxubee111423
Greene111029
Montgomery110136
Carroll105321
Lawrence103217
Perry102831
Amite98826
Webster93924
Tunica87421
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85827
Benton83323
Humphreys83324
Kemper78420
Quitman6969
Franklin67115
Choctaw61213
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55419
Sharkey44017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
Etowah11861176
Calhoun11292201
Marshall10290113
Houston8746156
Limestone813276
Cullman8125106
Elmore7999104
DeKalb776599
Lauderdale768698
St. Clair7651121
Talladega6309108
Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
Blount537683
Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 49°
Columbus
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 50°
Oxford
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 46°
Starkville
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 54°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather