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Kyprianou Talks About Being Named New Track and Field Head Coach
Petros Kyprianou became the University of Georgia's 14th head coach of the track and field and cross country teams in June 2015. Serving as the squads' associate head coach for a year prior to his promotion, Kyprianou is entering his eighth year with the program on the heels of earning back-to-back U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women's Assistant Coach of the Year honors indoors. A native of Limassol, Cyprus/Greece, he coaches pole vault, jumps, decathlon and heptathlon.
Kyprianou, who has also garnered a combined four USTFCCCA South Region Assistant Coach of the Year honors during the last two years and four seasons, followed up a sensational 2014 with a stellar 2015 in Athens. His student-athletes locked down four NCAA individual titles, six Southeastern Conference individual championships and a Second Team Academic All-America certificate.
In 2014, he guided his crew to a school record five NCAA titles, another six SEC championships and the 100-meter hurdle crown at the USATF Junior Championships and World Junior Championships.
Kyprianou has made a tremendous impact on the Bulldog program during his seven years, raising the teams to a spectacular level over the last two years. In addition to his national and league champions, Kyprianou has boasted 25 NCAA First Team All-America certificates that led to 167.5 combined points scored at the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets and 228.5 points at the SEC Championships in 2014-15. Thanks in large part to his corps, Georgia has finished with five top-10 and seven top-20 national finishes in the team races over the last two years, including UGA's best combined outdoor finish in history as the Lady Bulldogs took fifth and the Georgia men were sixth in 2014.
Individually, his student-athletes have tallied a jaw-dropping list of accolades: American Junior Records in both the women's indoor (13.98m - 45 feet, 10 ½ inches) and outdoor (14.15m - 46-5.25) triple jumps, a American/World Junior Record in the pentathlon (4,635 points), American Junior records in the heptathlon (6,018) and 100m hurdles (12.87), back-to-back collegiate/NCAA Championships records in the pentathlon (4,635 - 2014, 4,678 - 2015), collegiate/NCAA Championships records in the heptathlon 100m hurdles (12.99), a Cypress national record in the outdoor high jump (1.93 meters - 6-4), matching SEC Championship records in the indoor high jump (1.89m - 6-2.75) in consecutive years, an SEC Championships outdoor record in the triple jump (14.15m - 46-5.25), an SEC Championships record in the men's indoor heptathlon (6,036), an SEC Championships decathlon high jump record (2.17m - 7-1.75), an SEC Championships decathlon record (8,326) and an SEC Championships outdoor heptathlon shot put record (14.48m - 47-6.25).
In addition Kyprianou's crew has captured 14 school records (men's heptathlon indoors twice - 6,044 then 6,068, pentathlon indoors twice, indoor women's high jump twice, 100m hurdles, indoor women's triple jump, outdoor women's long jump - 6.62m - 21-9, outdoor women's triple jump, outdoor women's heptathlon twice - 6,147 then 6,223 and decathlon outdoor twice - 8,232 then 8,356).
Six individuals who Kyprianou coached in 2013 also experienced exceptional success:Here's a glimpse at what Kyprianou's student-athletes have accomplished over the last couple of years:
In 2014, Uibo and Scantling combined to be the top 2-man decathlon group in the NCAA and second in the history of the event in the NCAA, according to the Bill Webb Cup race and Dr. Frank Zarnowski's statistics.
Prior to 2014, the 2013 indoor and outdoor seasons were starting to get busy for Kyprianou as he had three SEC champions and six NCAA First Team All-Americans while also leading his decathletes to a prestigious national honor. The Bulldogs decathlon corps finished second overall in the annual race for the Bill Webb Cup, which Georgia won in 2011 in the two-, three- and four-man categories. A month before the 2013 indoor season began, Kyprianou also presented at the 2012 USTFCCCA Convention on "Mechanical Advantages in the Weight Room".
In addition, Kyprianou guided Ryan Grinnel, an athlete of his watch while coaching at Boise State from 2005-08, to a third-place finish at the USATF Championships. Grinnel earned a spot on Team USA after jumping 17.02m (55-10.25). A week later, he set a new personal best of 17.22m (56-6) at a USATF sanctioned meet at he University of Chicago. Grinnel lives in Athens and is still coached by Kyprianou.
The 2012 campaign saw five of his student-athletes advance to the NCAA Championships and bring four All-America certificates home. Leleux captured a pair of those honors after finishing second in the pole vault at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets while also winning the SEC outdoor title over the collegiate record holder in the event with a school record mark 4.43m (14-6.75). For her success, Leleux was named the SEC Women's Freshman Field Athlete of the Year and the USTFCCCA South Region Women's Athlete of the Year following the season.
Leleux's teammate, triple jumper Colleen Felix, also grabbed her second consecutive SEC indoor title in the triple jump during her final year with the Lady Bulldogs.
In 2011, Kyprianou guided eight Georgia team members to the Nationals as the Lady Bulldogs swept the triple jump at the SEC Indoor and Outdoor Championships. He had four All-Americans during the 2011 seasons. Six of Kyprianou's student-athletes qualified for the 2010 NCAA Championships. Kyprianou led his group to score a combined 46 points at the 2011 and then again at the 2012 SEC Outdoor Championships.
Internationally, Kyprianou had Tommy Barrineau compete at the 2011 European Cup and World University Games in the multi-events and he led Shakeema Welsch to an indoor USATF triple jump title. In fact, Kyprianou had four different athletes qualify for four different 2010 national teams.
Kyprianou has continued to develop Georgia into a "decathlon/heptathlon powerhouse" of sorts in his tenure. Cory Holman exploded for a school record score of 5,873 points in the heptathlon to take sixth and earn an All-America certificate at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships. A year earlier, All-American Michael Ayers scored 7,903 points to finish sixth in the decathlon at the 2011 NCAA Championships as Georgia joined Texas as the only schools having two decathletes at the national meet.
In the pole vault, Caleb Ebbets took off for a personal-best mark of 5.32m (17-5.50) in 2012 to complement Leleux's immense success in the event.
A variety of athletes whom Kyprianou trained showed significant improvements and posted a series of personal-best marks in 2012. Scantling tallied the fifth-best effort in school history in the decathlon (7,434) and four Bulldog pole vaulters from the 2012 indoor season each have a spot on the current all-time top-10 list. Scantling continued his success after his first outdoor collegiate season by qualifying for the 2012 World Junior Championships after taking a silver medal at the USA Junior Championships in Indiana.
Following the 2012 season, former Lady Bulldog Kat Majester finished fifth in the pole vault at the 2012 Olympic Trials, narrowly missing a berth to the Olympic Games in London. Kyprianou has steered Majester, who is still new to the sport, to a current personal-best height of 14-5.25.
In 2010, Barrineau shattered his own school record in the heptathlon twice to capture an SEC title in the event - a first for the Bulldog men in the history of the program. Also two years ago, Holman, competing in the multi-events for the first time, set an SEC Championships record in the high jump (2.17m, 7-1.75) and finished third at the league meet.
Other individual highlights under Kyprianou's watch included Ondraschkova advancing to the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships as a freshman before having a personal-best score of 3,995 points in the pentathlon to take second at the 2011 SEC Indoors; Majester shooting from 3.86m (12-8) to 4.24m (13-11.25) in the pole vault and advancing to both NCAA meets; John Smith soaring to a one-foot PR of 5.20m (17-1) and earning runner-up honors at 2010 SEC Outdoor Championships; and Aaron LaGarde reaching new heights in both the long jump (7.75m - 25-5.25) and the triple jump (16.04m - 52-7.50), and also qualifying for the 2010 USA Championships.
On the professional circuit, Kyprianou has served as the strength coach for high jumper and former Lady Bulldog Levern Spencer, who has a PR of 1.98m (6-6), and Welsch, who is a four-time USA women's triple jump champion with a best of 14.30m (46-11).
Kyprianou also served as a guest speaker at the High Performance Congress in Cyprus, Greece, in December 2009. He was also a jumps clinician at the Florida High School Coaches Association. Kyprianou's latest article printed in the magazine `Techniques' was featured in two different languages and highlighted some of Kyprianou's methods of developing athletes. He has written numerous technical articles for several track and field publications including the USTFCCCA magazine "Techniques" and the Estonian site "Decathlon2000."
In his inaugural season with the Bulldogs, Kyprianou helped Barrineau break his own school record in the heptathlon. Kyprianou also saw two of his heptathletes score at the SEC Championships before having a pair tally points for the Bulldogs at the outdoor conference meet.
A pair of pole vaulters also experienced immense success under Kyprianou's guidance in 2009. Adam Sarafian advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, clearing 5.25m (17-2.75), and took fourth at the NCAA East Regional. In her final year of competition, Julianne Toto exploded for an enormous personal-best mark of 4.09m (13-5.25) to advance to the East Regional.
Kyprianou, the 2008 USTFCCCA Indoor West Regional Assistant Coach of the Year, had a significant impact on the Boise State program before arriving in Athens, guiding numerous men and women to Western Athletic Conference Championships and NCAA Championship All-American honors.
During his three-year stint at Boise State, Kyprianou guided Bronco student-athletes to 21 individual WAC Championships, four All-American honors, 10 school records and two WAC records. He also helped the men's team to indoor (2006, 2007) and outdoor (2006, 2008) WAC league titles.
The rest of his 21 WAC champions and NCAA qualifiers came from Eleni Kafourou in the long jump and triple jump. Kyprianou helped Kafourou improve in both events and break her personal bests in both jumps while winning eight WAC championships and being the runner-up at the NCAA West Regionals. Kafourou also was named the WAC freshman of the year during the indoor and outdoor conference meet in 2006. In 2008, Kafourou was awarded the WAC Outstanding Field Performer in both the indoor and outdoor championships.
Prior to arriving on the Boise State campus, Kyprianou spent the previous two seasons as an assistant track and field coach at the University of Nebraska, Omaha and was in charge of the field events. While at UNO, he guided two student-athletes to five All-American performances at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
While competing in track and field, Kyprianou won several Cyprus and Greek Championships from 1991 to 1999. They included the decathlon, pole vault, 110 hurdles and long jump.
He has won several awards during his career which include being named the 2008 Indoor West Region coach of the Year, the Most Improved Coach Award from Cyprus in 2002, the Cyprus Athlete of the Year Award in 1999, an award from the Cyprus Soccer Association for the "Best Fitness Team" in 2003 and the Track and Field Coaching Specialty Academic Award from Greece in 2001.
Kyprianou has also made his mark in the weightlifting world. He set the Idaho record for Olympic weightlifting after lifting 567 lbs. at the 85kg class in October 2007.
Kyprianou received his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in June of 2001 from Aristotle University in Greece. He completed his Master of Science degree in Exercise Science/Biomechanics from the University of Nebraska in 2006. Kyprianou is a certified level III coach in the jumps, a level I and II USA Track and Field certified coach in the combined events, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a certified USA weightlifting sports performance coach.
Kyprianou and his wife Masa welcomed their first child, Alexander, in 2008 and their second, Stefan, in 2009.
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