ABILENE, Texas - ACU director of athletics announced Sunday evening that the contract of head track and field coach Roosevelt Lofton will not be renewed and that he has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately.
Lofton and the Wildcats returned from the NCAA Division II indoor championship meet Sunday afternoon in Birmingham, Ala., where the ACU women finished 10th with 24 points and the men finished tied for 40th with two points.
"I don't believe our track and field and cross country programs are where they need to be in order for us to compete at a national level in (NCAA) Division II, much less being in position to compete next year in the Southland Conference," Mosley said. "I understand the timing of this decision is difficult, but it gives us the chance to undertake a thorough search for our next coach, and it gives Coach Lofton the chance to pursue other opportunities."
Mosley also announced that ACU assistant track and field Jerrod Cook will serve as the interim head coach the rest of the season. Late last month, Cook – who is in his seventh season as ACU's highly successful throws coach – was named the NCAA Division II South Central Region Men's Indoor Field Assistant Coach of the Year.
"Coach Cook and I talked about our expectations for the rest of this season, and we're on the same page going forward," Mosley said. "I have complete trust that Coach Cook will be able to lead our program over the next couple of months, and I know he's excited about the opportunity in front of him."
Lofton was hired in August 2009 and he won his first national championship at ACU in March 2011 when "The Fab Four" of Nick Jones, Desmond Jackson, Damon Sparks and Amos Sang won the indoor championship by themselves. They won the outdoor championship later that spring, although they got a little help from a few other teammates at the meet in Turlock, Calif. Those two titles ran ACU's national championship total to 64 (57 at the NCAA level).
ACU has won 59 national championships in men's and women's track and field with 54 coming at the NCAA level. Lofton is one of six head coaches in ACU track and field history to have won a national championship, joining Oliver Jackson, Don W. Hood, Wes Kittley, Jon Murray and Don D. Hood on the short list.
However, this year's team only sent three men and six women to the indoor championship meet, prompting Mosley to make the move now instead of waiting until later in the year.
"I am determined to find the right person to lead this program into (NCAA) Division I affiliation and the Southland Conference," Mosley said. "We want to find the best person and coach we can to lead one of the great track and field programs in collegiate athletics into a new era."
Information provided by ACU Athletics Dept.
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