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Ken Harnden
Position: Assoc. Head Coach/Director Sprints, Hurdles & Relays
Alma Mater: University of North Carolina [apos] 95
One of the premier sprints coaches in the world, Associate Head Coach Ken Harnden was and continues his duties as FSU’s Director of Sprints, Hurdles & Relays. The former Olympian, whose sprinters have been the cornerstone of the Seminoles’ National Championship runs on the men’s side, has oversight of both the men’s and women’s programs in his specialty areas.

Passionate and fiercely competitive, Harnden’s fingerprints are all over the Seminoles’ success. Of the 35 NCAA event champions in program history, Harnden has directly coached 19 of those. Not surprisingly, his work has not gone without recognition.

Sprint dominance has been a familiar refrain with the Seminoles under Harnden’s watchful eye, dating to Brian Dzingai, his first All-American in 2004, through Dentarius Locke, who won the 2014 NCAA Indoor 60-meter dash title and posted his second consecutive NCAA 100-meter silver medal.

Harnden has been instrumental in developing collegiate 200 record-holder Walter Dix as well as world- and national-class stars like Ricardo Chambers, twins Kevin and Jonathan Borlee, Charles Clark, Drew Brunson, Michael Ray Garvin, Brandon Byram and most recently, James Harris and Locke. Their talents span a wide range from the short sprints and 110-meter hurdles to the 400 dash.

In 2012, Harnden collected his third men’s National Assistant Coach of the Year honor from the USTFCCCA after the Seminoles advanced a trio of individual sprinters and a 4x100 relay team to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. From that group, Maurice Mitchell claimed his second consecutive 200-meter title and teamed with Kemar Hyman, Horatio Williams and Stephen Newbold for a school-record run (38.57) in the 4x100. Collectively, that foursome produced 33 of FSU’s 38 points, which was good for a fourth-place team finish.

That performance came a year after the Seminoles came within one point of the 2011 national title as Ngoni Makusha, already a national champion long jumper, won the 100-meter dash in an NCAA Championship meet and collegiate record time of 9.89. Mitchell won the 200 title, then teamed with Makusha on FSU’s victorious 4x100 relay team. Makusha would go on to claim The Bowerman Award, presented to the nation’s top collegiate track & field athlete.

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, sprinters Mitchell, Hyman and the Borlee twins made up two-thirds of the Seminole men who competed. In all, Harnden has worked with 12 athletes who have competed in the last four Olympic Games.

Since 2004, Harnden-coached athletes have amassed 84 All-American honors, including the 19 NCAA championship titles. At the conference level, Seminoles under his watch have won 65 Atlantic Coast Conference championships, contributing significantly to the Seminoles’ team dominance over the last 11 seasons.

His influence on FSU’s record holders is undeniable. Seven of the top 10 men’s times in the 100, 200 and 400, all 10 of the fastest 4x100 relay marks and five of the top 4x400 relay standards were produced by Harnden’s athletes.  

A two-time Olympian for his native country of Zimbabwe (1996, 2000), a three-time participant - twice a finalist - in the 400-meter hurdles at the World Championships, Harnden also won a bronze medal Commonwealth Games in 1998.

He was a two-year letter-winner at the University of North Carolina, winning the 1995 NCAA title in the 400 hurdles – Harnden still holds the Tar Heel record - and was a member of the winning 4x400m relay team.

Harnden has been a part of the Seminole fabric since he arrived in Tallahassee in late 1995 to train post-collegiately under former Seminole head coach Terry Long. He was elevated to volunteer assistant before joining the staff full-time in 2004.

In addition to his coaching duties, Harnden serves as FSU’s primary recruiter, having developed tremendous resources throughout the world. Track & Field News ranked the 2014 FSU men’s signing class as the best in the nation, for the second time in three years. The Seminole women’s team has also scored a pair of top 10 classes in the last three years.

Harnden and his wife Betsy have two young sons, Garry and Pierce.


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