UKTF’s Kris Grimes wins 2021 National Pole Vault Summit Coach of the Year 

This is Coach Grimes’ fourth season at Kentucky 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) — University of Kentucky track & field assistant coach Kris Grimes has been named the 2021 National Pole Vault Summit Coach of the Year by the National Pole Vault Summit.

Coach Grimes is in his fourth year coaching the pole vaulters and jumpers at Kentucky after arriving in the summer of 2018.

Last season, he coached two different UK pole vaulters to SEC titles and school records. Matt Peare won the pole vault with an indoor program record (18’0.50”) at 2021 SEC Indoor Championships after also winning the same event at SECs in 2020. 

Keaton Daniel won the pole vault at 2021 SEC Outdoor Championships with a new outdoor school record (18’8.25”), and now is the co-school record-holder with Matt Peare indoors after vaulting 18’0.50” at the 2022 Jim Green Invitational. Daniel also earned a silver medal at 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field.

He also coached Siobhan Szerencsits to the second-highest indoor and outdoor vaults in UK history (14’2.47”, 13’9.25”)

Other notable Kentucky student-athletes Grimes has coached include Ellen Ekholm, the 2020 SEC indoor high jump champion, and Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile, the 2019 NCAA indoor triple jump bronze medalist.

Over the years, Grimes has earned the following honors/awards:

2019 USTFCCCA Southeast Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

2016 USTFCCCA National Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

2014 USTFCCCA South Central region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year

2009 USTFCCCA Midwest Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

Grimes began his coaching career in 1989 as an assistant coach for his alma mater, Abilene Christian, where he vaulted for four years.

Before Kentucky, Grimes also coached at Texas A&M (2013-16), Nebraska (2005-13), Washington State (1998-2005), Michigan State (1996-98), Louisiana-Monroe (1992-96) and served as a graduate assistant at Missouri in 1990 and 1991.

Grimes coached at Nebraska for eight seasons as the Cornhuskers combined events and pole vault coach. He hit his stride at NU over the five seasons by sending 27 athletes to the NCAA Championships and coaching athletes to two Big Ten titles, 13 Big 12 crowns and 15 All-America honors. Overall in those eight years, Grimes coached athletes to one national title, 23 All-America honors and 21 conference titles.

Athletes that Grimes coached have competed in four Olympic Games. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Lindon Victor (decathlon) and Latario Collie-Minns (triple jump) made their home country’s respective teams. Maggie Malone, who Grimes coached at Nebraska (3rd in 2013 Big Ten Javelin), made Team USA in the javelin.  

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