Franklin Finalizes 2007-08 Coaching Staff
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/29/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Aug. 29, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - First-year head coach Joe Franklin announced today that he has finalized the University of New Mexico track and field/cross country coaching staff for the 2007-08 seasons. Assistant coach Erin Howarth joined Franklin from Butler, while fellow assistants Leo Settle and Mario Wilson came to UNM from Arkansas-Little Rock and Bucknell, respectively. Volunteer coaches Art Acevedo, Lamont Johnson, Derek Mackel, Alison Murray and Doug Schneebeck complete the Lobos' staff.

Howarth, a former distance standout at Butler, spent the previous two years as an assistant coach at her alma mater, helping Franklin direct the powerful Bulldog distance corps. She and Franklin will continue to coach the cross country, distance and middle distance runners at New Mexico.

Settle will oversee sprints, hurdles and horizontal jumps at UNM after three years in the same role as an assistant coach at Arkansas-Little Rock, and a four-year stint (2001-04) as a volunteer sprints coach at UTEP. The Los Angeles native coached three NCAA Championship qualifiers, including All-American 100-meter sprinter Chris Johnson, at UALR and helped the Trojan women post the highest team grade point average in the nation last year (3.610). The UALR men, meanwhile, posted the 19th-best GPA in the country (3.090) under his watch.

During his time in El Paso, Settle and UTEP head coach Bob Kitchens trained a pair of All-American sprinters and helped the Miners' 4x100 relay team reach the NCAA Championship finals three years in a row (2000-02).

An All-American and eight-time individual conference champion at Arkansas-Little Rock, Settle went on to an five-year professional career on the international circuit competing in the sprints and relays. He was also a two-time Olympic Trials qualifier and has competed on the United States 4x100 relay team as well.

Wilson, meanwhile, will coach men's and women's combined events, vertical jumps and throws at New Mexico after five years as an assistant coach at Bucknell (2002-07) and four years at Saint Francis University (1999-2002). While at Bucknell, Wilson coached an NCAA finalist in the women's pole vault, 11 NCAA East Regional qualifiers and four Patriot League record holders and 25 individual conference champions. The Bison men's and women's teams also posted a 3.25 and 3.42 GPA, respectively, last year under his watch.

Wilson was equally successful at Saint Francis, training an NCAA provisional qualifier in the javelin and six East Coast Athletic-Conference (ECAC) qualifiers. Saint Francis athletes also set 32 school records and four Northeast Conference records during his tenure.

Franklin retained volunteer assistants Art Acevedo (distance), Derek Mackel (pole vault) and Doug Schneebeck (hurdles) from former head coach Matt Henry's staff and added two new volunteer coaches in Lamont Johnson (sprints) and Alison Murray (field events). Acevedo and Schneebeck enter their eighth year with the program, while Mackel begins his second year coaching at his alma mater.

Boasting 23-years of coaching experience, Acevedo helped train New Mexico All-Americans Matt Gonzales, Jeremy Johnson and Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott. Schneebeck, a former World Masters 400 hurdles champion, has been coaching hurdlers since 1996, helping the Lobos reach the conference finals in the event 19 times. Mackel, the 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional pole vault champion (18' 1"), was one of the great success stories in UNM history, improving by more than five feet during his collegiate career to become one of the nation's premier vaulters.

Johnson comes to Albuquerque after an outstanding career as a sprinter at Iowa State, where he was also a volunteer coach. Murray, a three-time Scottish pole vault champion, is currently a teaching assistant in the UNM Physical Performance & Development department.