Small joins Ilini Track’s coaching staff

CHAMPAGNE, Ill.— Illinois track and field head coach Petros Kyprianou called a familiar face in javonie small as an assistant coach. Small will primarily be the men’s and women’s sprints, hurdles, relay trainers, as well as the recruitment coordinator.

“Javonie is a great addition to our workforce at all levels,” said Kyprianou. “He’s one of the most tireless and effective recruiters in the NCAA. Along with knowledge of my system in building programs and championship mentalities in student athletes. Javonie was on my first staff in Georgia helping us build a championship program. His knowledge and experience in the sprints and hurdles will be an asset to our current and future athletes.”

Small joins the Illini after a six-year stint at Arizona State University (ASU), where he served in the same role. He helped improve the ASU men’s team from a 74th place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2017 to a ninth place finish in 2021, their best since 2010. With his help, 22 updates were made to the ASU top 10 -All-time lists made in the 2021 and 2022 seasons alone.

He brought several prominent members into the ASU track program, two-time and six-time All-Americans Jamar Marshal Jr. and transfer Cortney Jones, respectively. Marshall Jr. set the ASU records in the 60 m and 110 m hurdles under Small’s leadership. He also secured first overall recruit and Pan American U20 champion Justin Robinson.

“I am so grateful to be an assistant coach for the University of Illinois,” Small said. “I am grateful for my time at ASU as it has helped me grow into a better coach and recruiter. Coach Kyprianou has genuinely has the drive, passion and vision to win a national championship and he has a proven track record of success. I’m excited to go full steam ahead to further his vision!”

Prior to ASU, Small spent four years at the University of Georgia (UGA). First as a volunteer assistant coach during the 2013-15 season, then as Director of Operations from 2015-17. It was here that Small and Kyprianou first formed their professional connection. From 2006 to 2010, Small had his first crack at UGA, where he was a volunteer assistant coach.

As Director of Operations, he coordinated all operations and logistics for the track and field/cross country teams. He directed all the home races and ensured the proper use of the budget.

As an assistant coach, Small Coach assisted Kyprianou in coaching American triple jump record holder and Olympian Keturah Orji and Olympic heptathlete Kendell Williams. Williams became a seven-time NCAA champion and Orji won eight titles. He also created group and individual training sessions and conducted them in the absence of event coaches.

Prior to his NCAA stint, Small spent time at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia as the girls’ track and field coach for the 2011-13 seasons. In 2012 he founded the Club Nitro Track Elite. Here he worked with athletes from the ages of 4 to 18, providing them with high-level individual training and competitions at the collegiate and professional levels.

Before coaching, Small earned his Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from Morehouse College (Division II) in Atlanta. Here he was a six-time All-American hurdler and an eight-time SIAC Conference Champion.

The former Texas high school 110 hurdles state champion also competed at the 2006 and 2007 US state championships. At the 2006 championships, he reached the semifinals of the 400 meter hurdles and finished 15th overall. He is a five-time high school conference champion; three times over 110 m hurdles and two over 300 m hurdles.

Small moves to Champaign with his four-year-old daughter and wife Sherena. A native of Portland, Oregon, she was a triple jumper at the University of Nevada – Reno.

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