Johnny Gray enters his third season as an assistant coach, overseeing the middle distance runners.
The 2011 season saw Gray mentor several young 800m runners including Paisley Pettway, Tiffany LaMar and Tamara Purpura. He also worked closesly with the Bruin quarter-milers throughout the year, including Joy Eaton and Ashlea McLaughlin, who both ran lifetime-best 400m times during the season. Gray also had a big year coaching men's team member Cory Primm, who catapulted into the national and world scene after running 1:44.71 in the 800m to break the UCLA school record. He finished fifth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and was a semi-finalist at the USATF Senior National Championship.
In Gray's first season with the Bruins, several runners posted lifetime-best performances throughout the indoor and outdoor season. Shannon Murakami ran PRs in the 1500m (4:25.10) and mile (4:49.24), while quarter-miler Ashlea McLaughlin (2:09.81) ran PRs in the 800m and 400m (52.92). Both McLaughlin and Joy Eaton were NCAA provisional qualifiers in the 400m during Indoors.
Gray came to UCLA after having coached at Harvard-Westlake High School for the last few years where he guided the cross country team to the State meet for the first time in the program's history (placed 9th out of 26 teams). One of his athletes, Chris Cheng, was a state finalist in the 800m, dropping his personal-best in the 800m from 2:18.0 the previous year to 1:52.96 under Gray's coaching.
Gray also coached one of America's elite half-milers, Khadevis Robinson, to five USATF Championship titles. Today, he helps coach Dewayne Solomon, a former Trojan, who was second at the 2010 USATF Senior National Championships with a PR run of 1:45.2.
No stranger to success as an athlete, Gray is a four-time Olympian having competed in the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. At the Barcelona Games, he earned a bronze medal in the 800m and won gold at the 1987 and 1999 PanAm Games. He received the U.S. Olympic Committee's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and was a USATF Hall of Fame inductee in 2008. Gray is also a hall of fame inductee for Santa Monica College, Mt. SAC and Madison Square Garden/Melrose Games.
He also still holds the American Record in the outdoor 800m (1:42.60) and indoor 800m (1:45.00), and set world records in the outdoor 600m (1:12.81) and indoor 1000yd (2:04.39).
Gray resides in Thousand Oaks with his wife Judy. They have three sons - Johnny Gray, III (28, a graduate of UOP and professional basketball player in Europe), Jared (26, a political science major at Cal State Northridge) and Jaylon, 13. Gray enjoys working with the youth so much he founded a non-profit foundation called the JS & Associates Youth Foundation (jsyouthfoundation.org).