Impressive new staff added by Director of Track and Field Mike Maynard.
Johnny Gray enters his fourth season as a member of the Bruin coaching staff where he coaches the middle distance runners. A four-time U.S. Olympian, Gray brings a wealth of experience at the college, national and international levels.
With an impressive recruiting class to work with in 2012, Gray was able to bring along this group of young middle distance runners for a successful season. Redshirt freshman Sam Demello developed into a promising runner in the 800m with consistent times of 1:50. Sophomore Paulsey Pettway ran a 2:08 which could project her into the NCAAs this year, and Rachael Butler reached her goal of a sub five-minute 1500m (4:27). Junior Turquoise Thompson ran a lifetime best in the 400m hurdles (55) and finished second at the NCAA finals earning All-American honors. Thompson went on to finish in sixth place at the 2012 U. S. Olympic trials, missing a trip to London by just three spots. Despite competing with a injury, sophomore Philip MacQuitty recorded a lifetime best of 3:58 in the 1500m.
The 2011 season was a big one for Gray as he coached Cory Primm to an 800m mark of 1:44.71. That time broke Primm's own UCLA school record, set a new senior class record and it was one of the top 10 fastest times in collegiate history. He also achieved the Olympic "A" standard in the event. Primm ended his Bruin career with All-American honors at the NCAA Outdoor meet as he finished sixth overall.
In his first year with the Bruins, the middle distance runners had much success, highlighted by Primm. The then-junior broke the school and junior class record in the 800m (1:45.70) in the semifinal round at the NCAA Outdoor meet, and then went on to earn All-American honors with a fifth-place finish in the final. Scott Crawford ran a lifetime-best of 1:47.78 (previous best 1:49.94) for the seventh-fastest mark all-time at UCLA and advanced to the semifinal round of the 800m at the NCAA Outdoor meet. Seven men posted lifetime-best marks in the 800m during the outdoor season, while three posted personal-bests during indoors. Primm was a provisional qualifier in the 800m during indoors, and also ran on the school record-breaking and All-American DMR team. Marlon Patterson had a huge year as well, running lifetime-bests in the 1500m (3:42.13) and in the indoor mile (4:00.45). He also earned All-American honors with the school record-breaking DMR.
Gray came to UCLA after having coached at Harvard-Westlake High School 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 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 (29, a graduate of UOP and professional basketball player in Europe), Jared (27, a political science major at Cal State Northridge) and Jaylon (15).
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