(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)
BOZEMAN — Lyle Weese made his first coaching hires since being selected as Montana State University’s Director of Track and Field and Cross Country official on Friday, Oct. 5, as Weese announced the additions of Whitney Henderson and Jay Turner to the Bobcats’ staff. Henderson will serve as an assistant distance coach, while Turner will serve as an assistant focusing on the sprint, hurdle and relay events.
“It’s really exciting to have two new full-time track and field coaches,” Weese said. “They both bring a lot of energy and they’re really eager to be here. I think they both will add so much to our staff.”
Henderson joins the Bobcat program after working as an assistant coach and director of operations for Wyoming for three seasons. Henderson’s duties included management of the day-to-day operations of the program as well as coaching the women’s middle-distance runners.
Henderson moved to Laramie after a solid running career under current Wyoming head coach Bryan Berryhill at Colorado State University.
She was an all-Mountain West performer twice in cross country, including an eighth-place finish at the conference meet in 2012. Henderson went on to earn all-Mountain Region honors that season as well. On the track, she was all-conference in 2013 after a runner-up finish in the 1,500 meters. She qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary that season in the 1,500 meters. She owned personal bests of 4:24 in the 1,500 meters and 16:38 in the 5,000 meters.
A native of Hamilton, Mont., Henderson earned bachelors degrees in political science and journalism from CSU in 2014. She was a five-time academic all-Mountain West honoree, while serving as CSU’s SAAC vice president as a junior and president as a senior.
“Whitney has a great combination of experience,” Weese said. “She was a student-athlete, she’s from the state of Montana, she’s been at an institution similar to MSU in a lot of ways in Wyoming, and she’s been heavily involved for three-plus years in the daily operation of a track and field and cross country program.
“She’s going to be a huge resource to us for the support of the student-athletes and the administration of our track and field and cross country programs.”
Turner spent the previous three seasons assisting the University of Akron’s track and field program as a volunteer assistant coach. His primary responsibilities included helping coach the sprint, hurdle and relay events and served as the men’s and women’s recruiting coordinator for sprint, hurdle, and jumping events.
Turner played a role in helping the Zips’ men’s squad capture Mid-American Conference championships during both the 2016 and 2017 indoor and outdoor campaigns.
Turner spent time as the head boys track coach at Lorain High School from 2012 to 2015, and girls coach at Saint Joseph Academy from 2002 to 2011. Turner was also coach of sprints and relays for Ohio Flyers Track Club from 2005 to 2011.
During his time coaching high school and club, Turner helped guide the development of 47 AAU and USATF Junior Olympic All-Americans, 170 Ohio high school regional qualifiers, 39 Ohio state qualifiers, and nine Ohio state place winners. That included the 2016 Division 1 state champion in the 100 meter dash, who as a freshman became the first and only freshman male in Ohio Division 1 high school history to score in the state final of the 100 meter dash.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Turner earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science/fitness management from Akron in 2016. In 2017, he completed his master’s degree in exercise physiology/adult fitness from Akron.
Turner is currently USATF Level 2 certified in sprints/hurdles/relays, as well as a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sport Performance Coach.
“I’m thrilled to have Jay join us because of the passion he has for coaching,” Weese said. “He’s sacrificed a lot to get into coaching and now he’s moving across the country to come here to Montana State.
“You can tell he’s somebody that has a lot of enthusiasm, and that’s the key to success in coaching. He has a ton of knowledge and a lot of high school experience. He’s served as a volunteer assistant in a really successful Division I track and field program for three-plus years.”
Turner is scheduled to begin his coaching duties at Montana State on Monday, Oct. 15, and Henderson will join the staff in Bozeman the following week.