Shawn Wilbourn is currently in his seventh season as a member of the Duke Track & Field coaching staff after joining the Blue Devils following the Olympic Trials in July of 2008. Wilbourn works with Duke’s combined-event, pole vault and sprints and hurdles student-athletes.
The 2014 season saw Wilbourn lead multi-event standout Curtis Beach to his second NCAA Indoor Championships heptathlon title, earning the victory in his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M. Beach was crowned the national champion in spectacular fashion, amassing a conference, school and personal-record point total of 6,190 points en route to his second first team All-America honor. Earlier in the indoor season, Beach earned a first-place finish at the conference championship, scoring 5,987 points, a meet record. Teammate Ian Rock, putting in a personal-best effort of 5,510 points, placed second after winning the event a year ago. The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) recognized Wilbourn as the Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year following the conclusion of the indoor season. During the outdoor season, under Wilbourn’s tutelage, rising junior Robert Rohner was crowned the ACC decathlon champion after accumulating 7,277 points, the third-most in school history. The Blue Devils swept the event, as Rock and Beach placed second and third, respectively.
The female multi-event athletes were similarly successful in 2014, as redshirt junior Karli Johonnot set a school record in the indoor pentathlon and the outdoor heptathlon. In addition to Johonnot, fellow redshirt junior Teddi Maslowski posted the third-highest pentathlon point total and the second-highest heptathlon point total in school history while also setting school records in the long jump, the 100 hurdles, the 400 hurdles and serving as a member of the record-setting 4x400m relay team that qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. At the conference level, both Johonnot and Maslowski performed admirably in the multi-event competition, placing second and sixth, respectively, at the indoor conference championships and seventh and fourth during the outdoor conference meet.
In addition to the multi-event student-athletes seeing significant success, the sprint group also performed strong throughout the 2014 season, setting school records during the indoor season in the 200, the 400 and the 4x400, while records fell in the 100, 200, 400, 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles, 4x200 and 4x400 during the outdoor season. The 4x400, comprised of seniors Lauren Hansson and Elizabeth Kerpon, Maslowski and sophomore Madeline Kopp, became the first Duke women’s 4x400 in school history to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships after placing third in its heat and fourth overall at the NCAA East Preliminary Round competition.
In the pole vault, junior Megan Clark completed the most successful season of her college career with Wilbourn’s assistance, setting school records for both the indoor and outdoor pole vault. Clark, who earned All-ACC honors during both the indoor and outdoor season, qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships, earning second team All-America honors for her 14th-place finish.
During his Duke tenure, Wilbourn has coached two NCAA Champions, 11 All-Americans, eight ACC Champions and 27 All-ACC honorees. At the conclusion of the 2014 season, his student-athletes combined to own 27 school records.
Prior to working at Duke, Wilbourn held a similar position at Georgia after spending four years at Cortland State University, the last two as Director of Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country. He was honored with numerous Atlantic Region and New York State Coach of the Year honors for his mentoring at Cortland State, while coaching 18 All-Americans and two national champions.
Wilbourn’s other collegiate coaching stops include the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and his alma mater, Long Beach State University. Wilbourn earned his master’s in kinesiology from Long Beach in 2003.
In addition to college coaching experience, Wilbourn has also imparted his knowledge to athletes following their collegiate careers. In 2008, WIlbourn coached former Georgia long jumper Patty Sylvester to the Beijing Olympics. The Grenadian posted a mark of 22-0.25 (6.71) the same year, a national record for the event.
As an athlete, Wilbourn was a 1996 Olympic Trials finalist in the decathlon and competed at the World Championships for the United States in 1997. His career best in the decathlon is 8,268 points.
Wilbourn was also selected by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the 1991 NFL draft. He spent time under contract with the San Francisco 49ers during the 1992 NFL campaign.
In addition, Wilbourn is a USATF Level II certified coach as well as a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
His wife, Makeba, is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke. They have one daughter, Justice (10), and one son, Braeden (7).
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