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LaRon Bennett
Position: Assistant Coach
Alma Mater: University of Georgia
Graduating Year: 2007
Experience: 1st Year
Phone: 515-271-3013
Email: laron.bennett@drake.edu

LaRon Bennett Jr. came to Drake in October 2012 as the the assistant men's and women's track and field coach specializing in coaching hurdles and sprints.

"After considering numerous applicants, LaRon Bennett rose to the top as the best candidate," Drake Track and Field head coach Natasha Brown said. "He shares the same passion as our coaches for the sport of track and field."

It became apparent that Bennett had an immediate impact on the hurdlers when senior Sarah Yeager claimed the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championship in the 60-meter hurdles in a personal best time. 

Moving into the 2013 outdoor season, the four-some of Yeager, Destani Welch, Briana Isom-Brummer and Marissa Smith took the silver medal at the Drake Relays in the university/college shuttle hurdle relay in a school record 55.07, which was more than four seconds faster than the previous record set in 2010. Yeager went on to win the MVC Outdoor Championship 100 meter hurdle crown in 13.44, breaking Smith's school record who placed third.

Bennett grew up in Brunswick, Ga., attending Glynn Academy High School before going on to the University of Georgia. He graduated in 2007 after an impressive athletic career and a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development.

While competing for the Bulldogs at Georgia, Bennett was a three-time All-American in the 400 meter hurdles (2003-2005) and team captain for one of the top squads in the country.

Bennett continued his success at the professional level competing in the Olympic Trials finals twice (2004 and 2008), and the semi-finals in 2012. He also finished sixth in the 400 hurdles at the USATF Championships in 2010.

He hopes to continue to compete, making one more stab at the Olympics in 2016.

"Coach Bennett brings a strong competitive background to our program having served as an assistant coach in the SEC," Kaiser-Brown said. "I believe, in a short amount of time, we will see some impressive results from our hurdlers in the seasons to come."

While continuing his professional career, Bennett found a new love of in coaching the sport he enjoyed so much. He volunteered as a sprint and hurdles coach at Georgia, as well as at North Oconee High School, where he helped lead their teams to top state finishes in 2010.

Drake is no stranger to Bennett, who has competed at the Drake Relays six times in his career including four with Georgia and twice as a professional.

"It's a real personable atmosphere," Bennett said of Drake. "I've had a good experience here with the Drake Relays and I'm really looking forward to a transition to the coaching ranks."

Bennett prides himself on his involvement outside of the athletics realm. He is an active member of his church, becoming a Deacon in 2010 and worked with Win with Integrity, a group that speaks to young athletes to motivate and encourage them to make positive decisions in their developing career.

This is the first time he will be in the midwest for an extended period of time. He mentioned how he hoped to "bring the warm weather" with him, though Kaiser-Brown and head Cross Country coach Dan Hostager had already given him his first large winter coat.

Bennett is a talented athlete who has spent his time balancing athletic excellence, community leadership, and a young family. He and his wife, Kali, have a young son, Malachi.