RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University Athletic Director Norwood Teague announced today that Jon Riley has been chosen to take over the head coaching duties for the VCU men's track & field program.

"Jon has been a tremendous ambassador for VCU athletics in his two seasons with the women's program and has taken that program to new heights," Teague said. "We feel that he will do the exact same thing with the men's program. The future of VCU track & field and cross country is very, very bright."

Riley, who led the VCU women's track & field team to its first top-four finish in the past six years in April, will serve as the head man for both programs beginning this fall.

"I want to thank my administrators for giving me this opportunity and having the faith in me to run both programs," Riley said. "When offered the chance to have a combined program, I jumped at it with excitement. I don't look at this as a challenge, I view it as an opportunity to accomplish great things. Having the experience of coaching championship winning combined programs at my previous stops gives me a blue print for success. I want to assure my administrators that they have made the right decision.

Since being hired in August of 2008, Riley and his staff have changed the culture surrounding VCU women's track. This season alone, Riley and his staff saw a total of 18 school records set and every athlete on the 2010 roster set a personal best under the current regime.

"My staff and I will work hard at integrating the men into our way of doing things," Riley said. "The guys know I run a structured camp with very little tolerance for disruption and I anticipated a little resistance, but we've had an easy transition thus far. I commend the guys that have reached out to me and assured me that they are on board and ready to do things our way. I'm sure the ladies are eager to show them how it's done."

Before coming to VCU, Riley spent three seasons as the top assistant at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. In his three years with the Bruins, he specialized in the sprints and jumps, overseeing the national and regional success of athletes, such as Lynette Rives, Liz Pollock and Channing Twyner.

Riley was also recently certified as a coach at the USATF Level II in Sprints/Hurdles/Relays and the USATF Level III in jumps.

Prior to his time at Belmont, he spent two years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Southeast Missouri State University. Riley spent his time coaching the jumpers, pole vaulters, javelin throwers and hurdlers and helped the women's program capture three Ohio Valley Conference championships and numerous All-Conference awards. His coaching career began right out of college as he spent five years as an assistant at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, known around the state of Louisiana as a powerhouse on the track.

In addition to his coaching ex

perience, Riley was a two-sport standout athlete at Southeast Missouri State, lettering in both track and football. During his track career, he was a three-time NCAA provisional qualifier in the long and triple jumps, a five-time OVC individual champion and earned the 1996 OVC Track Athlete of the Year honor. He was also a four-year starter at wide receiver on the Redhawk football team and had a brief professional stint with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

He earned both his bachelor's degree in mass communications in 1998 and his master's degree in athletic administration in 2005 from Southeast Missouri State.