Bob Kitchens was announced on Wednesday as one of six men who will be inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Coaches Hall of Fame as the Class of 2016.
Kitchens was head coach of the UTEP Miners from 1988-2010.
“What you work for your whole life is to be recognized by your peers and to be remembered for doing something special,” Kitchens said. “When that happens, it means you accomplished something big and to be recognized for that means the world to me. I’m tickled to death to go in with coaches I’ve competed against and have known for a number of years.”
Kitchens will be joined in this year’s class by Terry Franson, Pat Healy, Mike Holloway, Marty Stern and Bubba Thornton. He is the third UTEP coach to earn the prestigious honor, along with Ted Banks who was inducted in 2000 and Tom Jones who was inducted in 2007. The inaugural class was inducted in 1995.
Kitchens was also the head coach at West Texas A&M and Mississippi State before coming to El Paso. He coached a combined 265 All-Americans and 26 NCAA champions at the three schools.
His tenure at UTEP produced 143 outdoor All-Americans, 73 indoor All-Americans and 15 cross country All-Americans. He led the Miners to six top-five NCAA finishes (four indoor, two outdoor) and 16 conference titles (six outdoors, five indoors, five cross country). Kitchens was a seven-time Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and a three-time Conference USA Coach of the Year.
He oversaw the training of 23 NCAA champions, 231 NCAA All-Americans and 374 conference champions. He also coached athletes who combined to make a total of 47 appearances in the Olympics, including six medalists.
Over the years, Kitchens had the knack for turning the raw talented into the world’s elite. He coached the world junior record-holder in the outdoor 100-meter (10.08 by Obadele Thompson) and 200-meter (20.07 by Lorenzo Daniel) dashes and produced the world record-holders in the indoor 55-meter (5.99 by Thompson) and 100-meter dashes. His athletes set NCAA indoor and outdoor championship records in the 200 with Thompson running 20.36 indoors in 1996 and Daniel running 19.87 outdoors in 1988.
Kitchens made the sprinting events his expertise. At UTEP he coached 10 NCAA champions and had 84 athletes gain NCAA All-America honors — an average of nearly four per year — in sprinting events.
Kitchens closed out his coaching career in style in 2010, leading the developing UTEP women’s program to its best-ever NCAA outdoor finish (seventh) and a seventh-place indoor showing as well. Kitchens coached his final NCAA champion in Blessing Okagbare, who captured a remarkable four titles that year – two indoors (60-meter dash and long jump) and two outdoors (100-meter dash and long jump). The women also claimed their first-ever conference indoor championship that year.
The Miner men were the national outdoor runner-up in 1994, and UTEP finished fifth nationally outdoors in 1992. The men finished third at NCAA Indoors in 1994, fourth in 1992 and 1993, and tied for fifth in 1996.
Kitchens was inducted into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015. He is also a member of the El Paso Athletics Hall of Fame, the Drake Relays Hall of Fame and the West Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Champions.
The 2016 USTFCCCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Dec. 14 in Orlando.