UConn names former Tennessee, Penn State coach Beth Alford-Sullivan head of track and field program

Photo of Paul Doyle

UConn has named Beth Alford-Sullivan as director of track and field and cross country, filling a position held by longtime coach Greg Roy.

Roy retired earlier this year after 37 years at UConn.

Sullivan comes to UConn after eight years at Tennessee, where she served as director of track and field and cross country. She became the first woman to lead a men’s program in any sport in SEC history when she was hired in 2014.

In 2006, Sullivan became the first female head coach to head a men’s Power Five track and field program when she was named program director at Penn State. The Minnesota graduate was Stanford women’s coordinator from 1995-99 before serving as Penn State women’s coach from 1999 to 2006.

After leading the men’s and women’s programs at Penn State from 2006-14, she joined Tennessee. Under Sullivan, Tennessee athletes won 31 individual or relay SEC titles and eight individual or relay NCAA championships.

The school announced in May that Sullivan and Tennessee “mutually agreed to part ways.”

“We’re extremely excited to have been able to recruit somebody with the wealth of experience, track record of success and, most importantly, the passion and desire to develop young people on and off the track,” UConn athletic director David Benedict said in a statement. “Coach Sullivan is well positioned to sustain and build on the tremendous history of success that Coach Roy built over his 37-year career.”

Said Alford-Sullivan: “I am honored and excited to work for an Athletic Director that is committed to the UConn values of winning with great people, great academics, and great competition. UConn has an impressive history in our sport and to follow in Coach Roy’s footsteps is also an honor. He has done an amazing job combining the two teams into one program and retiring with championship trophies in the sport for both genders. I look forward to bringing home more Big East titles and continuing to stretch the program forward to an NCAA presence. My husband Jim and I are excited for our move to the UConn community and beginning our time as UConn Huskies.”

At Penn State, Sullivan’s teams had 158 All-Americans, nine Big Ten team titles, 88 Big Ten individual champions, 19 Big Ten champion relays and four individual NCAA champions.