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Posted on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Michigan hires Auburn's Jerry Clayton as new men's track and field coach

By Pete Cunningham

The University of Michigan has hired Jerry Clayton as the head coach for its men's track and field team, the school announced on Monday. Clayton has spent the past 15 years as an assistant coach for Auburn University.

"Jerry brings a wealth of experience as an assistant and head coach at the highest levels of collegiate track and field," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a release. "Jerry has achieved success at every program he has been associated with during his extensive coaching career. Jerry's leadership will aid us in the development of our program and help position us to compete for Big Ten championships on a regular basis."


Jerry Clayton

Clayton replaces Fred LaPlante, who retired in June after 16 years with the program, the past five as head coach. Clayton is a 1980 Illinois graduate and Michigan will be his second stop as a head coach. Clayton was the head coach of Southwest Texas State from 1989-94 and has been an assistant at Florida (1995-98) and Illinois (1980-89) as well.

"My wife and I are excited to represent the University of Michigan and to return to competition in the Big Ten Conference," said Clayton. "Michigan is an elite athletic and academic institution that offers a strong track and field tradition. I'm excited about the potential that exists for the men's track and field team and look forward to getting to work building the next generation of student-athletes."

Clayton has coached 16 individual NCAA champions in his career as a coach. Auburn won the 2006 NCAA Women's Outdoor Track and Field championship while he was on the staff. He helped Auburn to 18 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Track and Field Championships (indoor and outdoor), including 10 top-five finishes.

Clayton's son, Zach Clayton, played defensive line for Auburn's 2010 national championship football team and plays for the Tennessee Titans.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


Rick Stevens

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

Looks like Brandon wants sprinters and UM's once distinguished distance running program will continue to languish. Sad.

Rick Stevens

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

Thanks for confirming my comment. I guess track, distance or otherwise, won't be of much importance now in the UM program.

Pete Cunningham

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Clayton's expertise is actually field events. From the release, he has coached athletes that have won NCAA titles in seven of the nine field events and All-Americans in all nine events.

Ann English

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

It's a headline-grabber. We have a county sheriff with the same name, only he's black. If the two Jerry Claytons haven't met each other yet, I expect them to soon.