Nov. 21, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State track & field program has hired two additions to the coaching staff, Ceith Creekmur and Vanitta Kinard. Creekmur will be the multi-event coordinator and work with vertical jumps, while Kinard will work with coach Randy Gillon coaching the sprinters and horizontal jumpers.
"Both of the new additions are technically very sound and are really interested in putting the student-athlete first," said director of cross country/track and field Walt Drenth. "When I think about the coaches and how they are going to problem solve and who are they going to call, because of the people they've surrounded themselves with, I know they are going to get great advice and great perspective. I'm really excited to have them and looking forward to track season. They have both hit the ground running. As soon as they came here, they've just done a great job and it's been fun to watch. They are going to complement us immensely. More importantly, they are going to enhance our student-athlete's experience, as people, as technical coaches and people with experience. At every level, I think we've hit a grand slam with both of them."
Before coming to Michigan State, Creekmur spent six years as an assistant coach at his alma-mater Miami University. Creekmur coached the throws, pole vault and multi-events for the RedHawks and guided 14 student-athletes to qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. Under his tutelage, 35 Miami student-athletes were Mid-American Conference scorers in addition to coaching two U.S. Indoor Championship and three Junior National qualifiers.
A former RedHawk standout, Creekmur was an All-Mid-American Conference decathlete and three-time conference point-scorer. He also turned in an eighth-place heptathlon finish at the U.S. Indoor Nationals and a fourth-place decathlon finish at the MAC Championships in 2006. An All-American honoree, Creekmur is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and earned his Level I certification in the USA Track and Field coaching program. He graduated with a bachelor's in exercise science in May of 2006 before earning his master's degree at Miami in exercise science in May 2011.
"He is a great young coach," said Drenth. "Ceith stood out among a number of applicants. He has had a great amount of success at Miami, not only in the multi-events, but with all of the people that he worked with. He came highly recommended from a number of people around the country, just in terms of being a rising star and being a student of the sport. When I try to find coaches, I try to find people who are really going to be teachers, understand their craft and are committed to our ideals as a track & field program. I think that Ceith really fits into that. He's from our region, so he understands the weather and the challenges that come with that. His success at Miami led us to believe that he would really be a great fit for us."
Kinard began her career as a collegiate jumper at Santa Monica Junior College where she was the 1995 California Junior College triple jump and long jump champion under legendary track & field coach Tommie Smith. She then transferred to Kansas State University where she became a six-time All-American and three-time Big 12 champion.
After serving as an assistant coach for her alma-mater, Kinnard began her professional career by winning her first national title in the triple jump at the 2002 USA Indoor Championships. She then finished second in the triple jump at the 2002 USA Outdoor Championships, before repeating as national champion at the 2003 USA Indoor Championships.
Following a coaching stint at UNLV, Kinnard was hired by Ole Miss to assist with vertical jumps. In her four years in Oxford, she proved to be one of the top recruiters in the country, helping to sign eight out of the top-10 high school athletes in the country her first season as assistant coach. She went on to coach three Ole Miss NCAA qualifiers, an SEC champion, an NCAA champion and 2012 Olympian.
"Vanitta comes to Michigan State from a great pedigree," Drenth said. "She's had some tremendous mentors; her coach in college is someone that I have a huge amount of respect for. I got innumerable calls on her behalf, people that were not her references, but just a lot of people around the country think so highly of her. The person that she worked with prior to coming here at Ole Miss, Coach Walker, is again a great teacher and has had a huge amount of success with horizontal jumps. Vanitta herself was a world-class triple jumper and highly successful at Kansas State as an athlete. We just feel like she is going to be a phenomenal addition."