Alabama hires assistant track coach

University of Alabama track and field head coach Dan Waters has announced the first addition to his staff with the hiring of Matt Kane to serve as the Crimson Tide's sprints and hurdles coach.

Kane, widely regarded as one of the top sprints coaches in the country, will come to Tuscaloosa after two seasons in the same role with the University of Oklahoma men's team.

"The reason why Matt is one of my first hires is that I truly believe in his coaching ability," Waters said. "If you look at the numbers, the improvement of the student-athletes he's worked with has been phenomenal. There's a wealth of experience and knowledge there that he has used to make great athletes spectacular. That's what we need to compete in the SEC and he is as competitive of a person as you can imagine. He's exactly what we're looking for."

In his first season with the Sooners, Kane produced an NCAA champion, five All-Americans, three Big 12 titles and three program records. For his efforts, Kane was named the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year. This season one of his star pupils, Mookie Salaam, was named the Big 12 Track & Field Athlete of the Year after sweeping the 100 and 200 meters while running a leg on OU's 4x100-meter relay team at the Big 12 Championships before finishing second in the 100 meters at last week's NCAA Outdoor Championships. Salaam was also the NCAA Indoor Champion in the 200 meters this season and currently owns the third fastest time in the world.

"The opportunity to work for Coach Waters is what that has interested me for quite a while," Kane said. "I have a lot of respect for what he's done as a recruiting coordinator and distance coach at Texas A&M and before that at Georgia. The University of Alabama has the opportunity to become one of the elite sprint programs in the nation."

One of Kane's top hurdlers, Ronnie Ash, claimed the 2010 NCAA title in the indoor 60-meter hurdles while winning Big 12 titles and setting program records in both the 60- and 110-meter hurdles. Ash was one of two Kane-coached athletes to break a program record in 2010 and win a Big 12 title  by joining Salaam who won the Big 12 crown in the 60 meters before breaking the OU record in the outdoor 200 meters. Salaam earned All-America honors in both the indoor and outdoor 200 before doing so in the 100 meters.

Both of Kane's 2010 relays qualified for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships as did 400-meter hurdler Eric Bailey. Kane also placed his 4x400 relay along with hurdler Malcolm Anderson in the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Kane came to Norman from Barton County Community College in Kansas where he was the head men's and women's coach for three years and was named the 2009 NJCAA National Men's Coach of the Year. The Coach of the Year honor was just one accolade in an extensive list of coaching achievements during his time at Barton County, both on the junior college and international level. Under Kane's guidance, three Barton athletes qualified for the finals at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin including the 110m hurdle gold medalist Ryan Brathwaite and the silver medalist in the 200 meters, Alonso Edward.

Kane was also present at the 2009 World Championships, serving as the head coach for Panama in Berlin. In 2008, two of his athletes advanced to the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics.

Along with the 2009 Berlin World Championship results, Kane placed two athletes in semifinals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was named Panama's head coach for the 2009 South America and Berlin World Championships.

Kane began his coach career as a graduate assistant at the University of Central Oklahoma where he graduated with a degree in community health in 1999. He is a native of Stillwater, Okla.