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Harnden: Nation's Top Assistant
Maurice Mitchell and Kemar Hyman finished 1-2 in their semifinal heat of the NCAA 100-meter dash.

Maurice Mitchell and Kemar Hyman finished 1-2 in their semifinal heat of the NCAA 100-meter dash.

June 14, 2012

By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Ken Harnden, Florida State's Director of Sprints, Hurdles & Relays, has been selected as United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) 2012 National Men's Assistant Coach of the Year.

Harnden's honor comes on the heels of yet another impressive performance by the Seminoles at last week's NCAA Outdoor Championship meet. His sprinters, who have been the cornerstone of FSU's championship contenders over the past seven years, produced 33 of 38 team points as the Seminoles placed fourth at the championship.

"I'm excited for Ken to be recognized as the nation's top sprints coach," Florida State head coach Bob Braman said. "He does an amazing job for us and also graduates his athletes at a national-class level as well.

"We're lucky to have him."

Senior Maurice Mitchell successfully defended his NCAA 200-meter title - the sixth title in seven years by a Seminole in that event - and finished third in the 100-meter dash. Horatio Williams placed third in the 200, while Kemar Hyman was sixth in the 100. That trio teamed with Stephen Newbold for a runner-up finish in the 4x100 relay, where they posted a school-record time of 38.56. Kieran Showler-Davis contributed a leg to the relay, which qualified second, in the semifinal round.

In all, Seminole sprinters claimed nine USTFCCCA first-team All-American honors at the championship meet, continuing an impressive trend under Harnden's 13-year tutelage.

"He's an amazing man who has always cared about his kids," Mitchell said of Harnden.

Florida State's impressive performance continued an outstanding season by the `Noles. Eight individuals and the 4x100 relay qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round. At the ACC Championship, FSU runners finished 1-2 in the 100 and 200, and captured the 4x100 relay. In all Seminole sprinters accounted for 66 of the team's 149 points for a runner-up showing in the league meet.

Last week, Harnden was named NCAA South Region Men's Track Assistant Coach of the Year.

Over the course of his career, Harnden - a former NCAA 400-meter hurdle champion and member of North Carolina's gold medal 4x400 relay - was a two-time Olympian, representing Zimbabwe in 1996 and 2000. In his 13 seasons with the Seminoles he has previously earned a pair of National Assistant Coach of the Year/Sprints honors (2005, 2007) and was also the NCAA East Region Assistant Coach of the Year/Sprints during those seasons.

Mitchell and Williams will be joined by redshirt sophomore Seminole Dentarius Locke at the U.S. Olympic Trials next week in Eugene, Ore., where former FSU star and Olympic medalist Walter Dix, will also compete. Hyman has already qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and will represent the Cayman Islands.

Another Harnden protégé, Ngoni Makusha, who was the 2011 winner of The Bowerman Award and last year's NCAA champion in the 100, 4x100 relay and long jump, secured a spot on Zimbabwe's Olympic team before suffering a torn Achilles tendon last month.

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