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Wayne Norton begins his 14th year as the Georgia head track and field coach and his 23rd year overall with the program. Norton has compiled an extremely impressive resumé as he has been a major part of the most successful period in Georgia track and field history.
In Norton's 13 years as head coach, Georgia has won 18 individual national titles, earned 139 All-America certificates, captured 91 SEC individual titles and the men's and women's teams have achieved a total of 23 top-25 NCAA finishes.
Over the last seven years, Norton and his coaching staff further established Georgia's program as one of the nation's elite programs. The Lady Bulldogs claimed both the SEC indoor and outdoor titles in 2006, finished with five NCAA individual crowns and four top-10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships during that span. Georgia also combined to rack up 41 SEC individual crowns during the last seven seasons. UGA claimed its first NCAA men's javelin title during the 2008 season before Chris Hill, who went on to win the 2009 USA Championships, was able to accomplish that feat yet again in 2009.
Another first for the Bulldog men came as Torrin Lawrence sprinted to Georgia's first national championship in the 400-meter dash at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships. Lawrence completed his career as a seven-time All-American and three-time SEC champion. In the field, Nikola Lomnicka captured the third NCAA women's hammer throw crown for the Lady Bulldogs in five years in 2010 before finishing third at the 2011 NCAA Championships. Lomnicka concluded her career in 2012 with her third consecutive First Team All-America certificate in the hammer.
Norton came to Georgia in 1990 and has been instrumental in guiding the UGA men to five outdoor top-10 NCAA finishes, 12 outdoor top-20 finishes, two indoor top-10 finishes and five indoor top-20 finishes. He has also been instrumental in the development of a nationally competitive women's team. In the 1995 season, Georgia won its first ever SEC Outdoor Championship in the history of the women's program. In 1996, the Lady Bulldogs claimed their highest NCAA finish in school history as they finished second at NCAA Indoors. Over the course of the last 13 seasons, the women's team has captured six outdoor top-20 finishes and five indoor top-15 finishes. The Georgia women scored more than 100 points (108) at the 2012 SEC Outdoor Championships and posted their eighth top-25 finish at the NCAA outdoor meet during Norton's tenure.
In his time at Georgia, the cross country team has also thrived. Prior to the 1990s, the women's team had never gone to the NCAA Championships, but that changed in 1990 when they made their first ever trip to the NCAAs. Georgia would get back to nationals in 1991, 1997, 2004-07 and 2011-2012. Both Bulldog distance teams qualified for the national meet in 2012, with the UGA men grabbing their top NCAA finish in history (19th). In 2011, the Georgia men advanced to the NCAA cross meet for the first time since 2004 and had the top SEC team finish. The Bulldogs won the South Regional in 2003 to advance to their first NCAA meet. They then returned to the national meet in 2004, which marked the first time in school history that both the men's and women's cross country teams competed simultaneously at the NCAA meet.
In 2006, the Lady Bulldog cross country team grabbed their first South Regional title and took 15th at the NCAA Championships. The Georgia women, who saw Natalie Picchetti earn All-American honors, returned to the NCAA meet for the fourth consecutive time in 2007 after Sarah Madebach won the school's first SEC individual title. Kristie Krueger added another All-America certificate for the Lady Bulldog XC crew in 2010 after winning her own SEC crown.
Norton, who began coaching in 1981 as a graduate assistant at Indiana, has had success at all three of the schools where he has coached. While at Indiana from 1981-85, the Hoosiers won three Big Ten Indoor Championships and an outdoor Big Ten Championship.
Before coming to Athens, Norton served as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University from 1985-89. He coached NAU's jumpers and sprinters (a group which featured NFL speedsters Mike Haynes, David Lang and Shawn Collins), while serving as an instructor in both physical education and journalism. During his tenure at Northern Arizona, the program had a very successful five-year period. Out of the Big Sky Conference, Northern Arizona won four indoor and outdoor men's conference championships, three women's indoor conference championships, two outdoor women's championships, four men's cross country championships and three women's cross country championships.
While at Georgia, he has produced a steady stream of All-American jumpers, including 2008 and 2012 Olympian Levern Spencer and 2008 Olympian Patricia Sylvester. Norton was instrumental in 2006 with the pair listed above racking up four All-American certificates and four SEC individual titles. In 2012, Saniel Atkinson was the runner-up in the high jump at the SEC indoor and outdoor meets before earning her first First Team All-America certificate in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 1995, Georgia's jumpers enjoyed one of their best seasons ever, collecting five All-America awards while winning three SEC crowns, thanks to the efforts of Thad Hood, Icolyn Kelly, Reeta Laaksonen and Dillon Phelps. Laaksonen and Phelps added more such honors in 1996 and Sylvester came away with her first conference title in 2005. Norton has also guided other nationally-renowned jumpers including Celly Martinez, Latifah Long, Krysha Bayley, Volker Mai, Hyleas Fountain, Ryan Sheppard, Patrick Thavelin, Wolfgang Kreissig, Marcus Bailey, Tasha Mahone and Antonio Saunders.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, former Bulldog thrower Reese Hoffa gave Georgia's track and field program its 12th medal after earning a bronze in the shot put. During the 2008 Games in Beijing, Hyleas Fountain claimed a silver medal in the heptathlon after competing for Norton and the Lady Bulldogs in 2003-04.
Norton, a New Jersey native, received his Bachelor's degree in broadcast production from Howard University in 1981. In his time as a graduate assistant coach at Indiana from 1981-85, he worked on his Master's degree in journalism and received the degree from Northern Arizona in 1987.
Norton and his wife Priscilla have four children: son Christian and daughters LaShawna, Jasmine and Erica. Norton also has a son-in-law after Andre Wilson married his daughter LaShawna. The couple has a son named Isaiah.