UTEP Track and Field Head Coach Mika Laaksonen announced the hiring of Alan Culpepper to the staff on Tuesday.
Culpepper will serve as an assistant coach to the cross country and distance teams, while also providing strong support with duties related to day-to-day operations.
“We want to welcome Alan to UTEP, and are excited about his return to El Paso,” Laaksonen said. “He was one of the most decorated high school athletes in his sport here and since his departure, he only got better in his trait and represented the U.S. multiple times in the Olympics. The knowledge he has for distance events and coaching skills he possesses are excellent. Add multiyear experience as large event organizer, impressive fundraising record, and public speaking skills are second to none to his outstanding character and one can only be impressed. Our program is very fortunate to be able to gain access to such a consummate professional in this sport and we can’t wait for Alan to start in our new assistant coach position.”
Culpepper, a 1991 graduate of Coronado High School in El Paso, won five Texas state titles in cross country and track.
Culpepper, a 1996 graduate from the University of Colorado (Boulder), was a national champion in the 5,000m race, clocking in a 13:47.26 at the 1996 NCAA National Championships, and was an eight-time NCAA All-American during his collegiate career. Culpepper went on to represent the United States in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
“I am thrilled to be joining the UTEP program, returning to my hometown of El Paso and working alongside an amazing staff,” Culpepper said. “I am thankful to Jim Senter and Julie Levesque for this opportunity and do not take it lightly. UTEP played a significant role in my life growing up in El Paso and the community was always so supportive of my early development in the sport. I feel honored to come full circle and my hope and intent will be to use my background and experience to the benefit of the program and student-athletes.”
Most recently, Culpepper was the Director of Operations and Marketing, Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado from 2015-2021. He also mentored athletes as a private coach, and served as the head cross country and associate head track and field coach at Fairview High School in Boulder.
From June 1996 thru December 2009, Culpepper qualified and represented the United States in two Olympic Games and four World Championships. He was sponsored by Nike for five years (2005-2009), adidas for eight years (1996-2004) and Gatorade for six years (2004-2009).
Culpepper received his bachelor of arts in geography and sociology in 1996 from the University of Colorado. He was also accepted into the Masters in Organizational Leadership in summer 2021 program at CU.
In 2012, Culpepper was honored as an inductee into the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 2015 authored Run Like A Champion published by Velopress.
He and his wife, Shayne Culpepper, have four sons – Cruz, Levi, Rocco and Chase. Shayne is also a University of Colorado graduate, in 1997. She represented the United States in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.