STARKVILLE, Miss.- Chris Woods finds himself back at home as he rejoins the Bulldogs as Mississippi State’s assistant track and field coach.
A native of Covington, Ga., Woods graduated from MSU in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in clinical exercise physiology. He returns to his alma mater, where he was a four-time Division I National Qualifier, two-time All-American and four-time All-SEC athlete for the Maroon and White track team.
“I’m extremely excited about having a coach come join us who has Mississippi roots,” MSU coach Steve Dudley said. “I’m really happy to have him on board, not only because of his coaching expertise, but, more than anything, his love and passion for Mississippi State.”
Woods comes back to Starkville after serving as the head coach for the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., since 2012. Prior to his time with the Panthers, Woods coached at Abilene Christian University as the men’s and women’s long sprints, middle and long distance coach. During his two years at Abilene Christian, Woods aided his team to back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships in men’s track and field.
“It’s really a dream to be back here,” Woods said. “I just want to help the young student athletes and give them the same opportunities I had, contribute to people graduating and getting their degree, getting faster and jumping higher. I think Coach Dudley and I share the same vision, as we want to be a national caliber type of program.”
Dudley believes Woods’ passion for MSU will translate heavily in the recruiting process, serving as a valuable tool for gaining even more elite athletes.
“Now we have several members on our staff who have worn the jersey here, and when you’ve worn the jersey here and you have that passion, it’s easy to go sell passion,” Dudley said. “Recruits can see that; you can’t fake passion. He’s going to be able to go into houses and the families, and recruits are going to see how much he loves Mississippi State.”