West Texas A&M head track and field coach Darren Flowers is leaving WT, accepting the same position at the University of Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg.
The Division I school was formerly known as the UT Pan-American.
Flowers has been the head track and field coach for the past seven years.After revitalizing the program, where Flowers help build both the men and women’s teams into contenders, Flowers and his assistant Matt Stewart led the women’s squad to the school’s first ever Division II national championship in May.
“It’s been an incredible run,” said Flowers, who was named the NCAA Division II Track and Field Coach of the Year. “We’ve had so much overwhelming support. When you look back at it, we really built something here and we did it the right way. We did it with a lot of good people and I’m proud to leave it at the top level.”
When rebuilding the track program, Flowers made his reputation by forming his team around Texas Panhandle athletes, especially on the women’s side.
His prize pupil from the Panhandle was Randall graduate Libby Strickland. Strickland ran for the Lady Buffs from 2012-2016, setting a school record as a 12-time All-American.
“It’s bitter sweet to coach Flowers go,” Strickland said. “It was amazing to have him, but it will be good to see him move on to a bigger and better program. I think what makes coach Flowers and coach Stewart so good is they truly care about their student-athletes. Not just on the track, but off the track. Knowing the care makes you want to work even harder for them and make them. I think he’ll be successful at UTRGV. Going from not being ranked at WT to winning a national title shows you he can do anything.”
Flowers, who was also the WT men’s cross country coach, was a combined 13-time Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year and a two-time South Central Regional Coach of the Year.
He led his program’s, whether it be cross country or the track program to 12 combined LSC championships.
Flowers said taking the job at UTRGV was too good to pass up. Flowers was offered a three-year contract with three full-time assistant coaches and a fully funded track and field program.
“It’s an unbelievable deal,” Flowers said. “They’re wanting to compete at the same level as Big 12 schools. The operating budget is huge and all of that is extremely hard to get at the Division II level. They blew me away with the way they want to run the track program. It’s an honor to get offered a job like this. But I know I got offered this job because of what we did at WT. I owe WT everything.”