EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The UTEP track & field team is adding a former Olympian to their staff. Miners head coach Mika Laaksonen announcing on Tuesday they have hired El Paso native Alan Culpepper to their staff.
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.
“I am thrilled to be joining the UTEP program, returning to my hometown of El Paso and working alongside an amazing staff,” said Culpepper. “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.”
Culpepper, a graduate of Coronado High School in 1991, won five Texas state titles in cross country and track. He attended the University of Colorado (Boulder) where he was a national champion in the 5,000M, clocking in a time of 13:47.26 at the 1996 NCAA National Championships. Culpepper was an eight-time NCAA All-American at Colorado and went on to represent the United States in the Olympics in 2000 (Sydney) and 2004 (Athens).
“We want to welcome Alan to UTEP, and are excited about his return to El Paso,” said Laaksonen. “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.”
From June 1996-2009, Culpepper qualified and represented the United States in those 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).
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.