Iowa City native and World Champion runner Joey Woody was named UI director of track and field/cross country in July 2014. He is a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and a six-time USTFCCCA Regional Coach of the Year.
Prior to accepting the head coaching position, Woody served as the associate head track and field coach for two seasons. He was assistant coach and director of sprint and hurdle events for the Hawkeyes from 2006-12.
Since arriving on campus, Woody has led Iowa to 54 Big Ten individual titles, 13 conference relay titles, four men’s Big Ten team titles, four Big Ten Athletes of the Year, and 228 All-America honors.
In 2023, the Hawkeyes had 28 All-Americans; six during the indoor season and 22 during the outdoor season. Woody led both the men’s and women’s programs to third place finishes at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in 2023. On the men’s side, James Carter Jr. (long jump and triple jump) and Tyler Olson (600 meters) earned second-team all-Big Ten honors. Carter Jr., Austin West, Grant Conway, and Peyton Haack qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Haack set two school records during the indoor season, including the program’s heptathlon mark, with his fifth-place finish and 6,048 points at the NCAA Championships. West, Conway and Carter Jr. each earned second-team All-American honors. Myreanna Bebe claimed the women’s indoor 60-meter hurdles Big Ten title with her school-record 8.07 at the Big Ten Championships. She later was named a second-team All-American following her 10th-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Mid-distance specialist Alli Bookin-Nosbisch set the 800-meter program record at the Music City Challenge. She was also a part of the distance medley relay team, along with Tesa Roberts, Grace Bookin-Nosbisch and Amber Aesoph, that notched another school record, finishing in 11:15.07. Under Woody’s direction, the men’s team finished third at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, while the women claimed sixth. Iowa had five Big Ten champions, including Austin Kresley, Jenoah McKiver, Austin West and the 4×400 relay team of McKiver, Deandre Stapleton, Spencer Gudgel and Julien Gillum. Tionna Tobias was crowned the Big Ten Champion of the women’s heptathlon. Woody and the Hawkeyes sent 58 entries to the NCAA West Preliminary. The Hawkeyes had 23 entries to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas, highlighted by All-American decathlete Austin West. Woody led the men’s 4×100 relay to the finals for the 10th straight season. Combining both seasons, the Hawkeyes broke 13 program records.
In 2022, Woody was named Big Ten Indoor Coach of the Year and USTFCCCA Midwest Region Indoor Coach of the Year. The Hawkeyes broke a total of 10 school records during the indoor season. The Hawkeye men defended their indoor conference title, scoring 117 points to edge Ohio State by 15 points. The Iowa men were led by Big Ten titles in the 600 meters from Jenoah McKiver, the men’s 4×400-meter relay and eight additional medalists. The women finished sixth (59 points) and were led by 60-meter school-record holder LaSarah Hargrove who finished runner up in the 200 meters and third in the 60 meters. The men’s team qualified a program-record number of entries to the NCAA Indoor Championships and had the second most qualifiers in the country, finishing tied for 18th with 14 points. McKiver was the indoor 400-meter NCAA runner up and was named B1G and USTFCCCA Midwest Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year. In addition to McKiver, Chadrick Richards and Wayne Lawrence earned First Team All-America honors in the 400 meters. Tyler Lienau also finished as a First Team All-American in weight throw. For the women, Mariel Bruxvoort, Tesa Roberts, Payton Wensel and Mallory King earned first-team All-America honors in the 4×400-meter relay. During the outdoor season, the Hawkeyes broke an additional 10 school records. The men won the first Drake Relays Cup for Iowa since 2018 and James Carter, Jr. became the first university division men’s athlete to sweep the horizontal jumps at the Drake Relays in 16 years. The Hawkeye men finished as B1G runners-up (103 points). Julien Gillum became the third-consecutive Hawkeye 400-meter hurdler to claim the Big Ten Title in the event (Jamal Britt – 2021, Chris Douglas – 2019). Iowa’s women replicated their output from the indoor Big Ten meet, scoring 59 points and finishing sixth. Amanda Howe broke her own school record in the hammer throw to win a Big Ten title. Iowa’s men qualified 28 entries to the NCAA West Region prelims – the third-most in the NCAA. From there, they advanced 10 entries to the NCAA Championships. Under Woody, the men qualified a 4×100-meter relay team to the NCAA Final site for the ninth-consecutive season. Only Arkansas and Florida have an active streak as long. In addition, the Hawkeyes qualified a 4×400-meter relay team for the fifth-straight season and a 110m hurdler for the seventh-consecutive year – every year of the Woody era. The men tallied 10 All-America honors (seven First Team), including Austin West (decathlon), Nik Curtiss (shot put), Jordan Johnson (discus) and the men’s 4×400 relay of Everett Steward, Chadrick Richards, Spencer Gudgel and Julien Gillum. The women qualified 18 entries to the NCAA West Prelims and five entries to the NCAA Championships, notching seven All-America honors.
In 2021, Woody was named Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Year, and USTFCCCA Midwest Region Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Year. The Iowa men won both the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships. The Hawkeyes scored a school-record 119 points to win their first outright indoor championship since 1929, and set a school record with 127.5 points to win the outdoor title. The Hawkeye women scored 75 points to place third indoors, matching the best indoor conference finish in school history. Iowa won three indoor gold medals. Peyton Haack became the first Heptathlon champion in school history. James Carter won the men’s long jump and Paige Magee won the women’s 60-meter hurdles. The Hawkeyes added four more titles at the outdoor championships, including Jaylan McConico in the 110 hurdles, Jamal Britt in the 400 hurdles, Laulauga Tausaga in the discus and Dallyssa Huggins in high jump. Britt was named Co-Athlete of the Championships and McConico was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year. Iowa qualified five athletes for the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championship and earned five All-America honors, highlighted by Jamal Britt and his school-record and runner-up performance in the 60-meter hurdles. The Hawkeyes earned 15 All-America honors at the outdoor championships, including runner-up performances from McConico in the 110 hurdles and Tausaga in the discus. Tausaga was named Midwest Region Athlete of the Year.
In 2020, the men’s team placed second at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. This is the highest finish for the men’s team since 1963. Iowa had six individual champions, Wayne Lawrence (200M, 400M, 1,600-meter relay), Laulauga Tausaga (weight throw), Jaylan McConico (60-meter hurdles), Raymund Clarke (1,600-meter relay), Antonio Woodard (1,600-meter relay), DeJuan Frye (1,600-meter relay). The 1,600-meter relay broke the school record at the conference meet. Iowa had a total of seven record broken during the indoor season. Wayne Lawrence and Laulauga Tausaga were both name Big Ten Athlete of the Championships and Big Ten Indoor Athletes of the Year. This is the first time Iowa has received this honor for the men’s track team and women’s field. Tausaga earned Midwest Regional Athlete for the second-straight year. Tausaga also was named to the 2020 Bowerman Preseason Watchlist – the first ever Hawkeye to receive this honor. The Hawkeyes were set to have 9 athletes in 8 events at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
In 2019, Woody was named Big Ten Men’s Coach of the Year and USTFCCCA Midwest Region Men’s Head Coach of the Year. Iowa won its first individual NCAA Outdoor Championship title in 34 years. Laulauga Tausaga was also named USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year, and Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championships after a season that included her capturing the NCAA discus title. At the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Wayne Lawrence Jr., Antonio Woodard, Karayme Bartley, and Mar’yea Harris ran the school-record 1,600-meter relay to place fourth and earn first team All-America honors. Harris (400 meters, 1,600-meter relay), Chris Douglas (400-meter hurdles), Lawrence (1,600-meter relay), Chris Thompson (1,600-meter relay), and Carter Lilly (1,600-meter relay) won their respective Big Ten titles, leading the Hawkeyes to the 2019 Big Ten Championship title. The women won their first Hy-Vee Cup at the Drake Relays, bringing home the Hawkeyes third trophy in as many years.
In 2018, the Hawkeyes sent 13 athletes to compete in 16 events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The women set a school record with a 13th place finish, scoring 19 points behind All-America performances by Jahisha Thomas and Laulauga Tausaga. The Hawkeye men crowned a pair of All-Americans. Mar’yea Harris placed fourth in the 400 meters with a school-record setting effort, and Reno Tuufuli placed fifth in the discus. Two Hawkeye relay teams won conference titles, the distance medley at the indoor championships and the 1,600-meter relay at the outdoor championships. Thomas (long jump, triple jump) and Tausaga (discus, shot put) captured a pair of Big Ten titles in their respective events, leading Iowa its best finish in program history (third) at the conference championships. Thomas was named Big Ten’s Field Athlete of the Year. Harris won the outdoor 400 meters. The men’s team won the Hy-Vee Cup at the Drake Relays for the second straight year.
In 2017, Iowa claimed five Big Ten titles and qualified 33 athletes for the NCAA Championships during the indoor and outdoor seasons. At the NCAA Championships, the men finished with their best finish in 50 years in 17th place with 15 points. Iowa set or reset a total of 25 school records during both seasons including breaking a 22-year-old record in the men’s 4×400 meters with a time of 3:02.57. In addition, Iowa captured their first-ever Drake Relays title, tallying 39 points with three relay titles. It was their first win in the 3,200-meter relay since 1929.
In 2016, the Hawkeyes won nine Big Ten titles and qualified 25 individuals for the NCAA Championships. Iowa tied a school record by qualifying 13 events for the NCAA final site, including 10 individual events and three relays. Fourteen individuals – eight men and six women – competed at the NCAA Championships final site, tying a school record. The Hawkeyes also set four school records in 2016.
In 2015, his first season as director of track and field, the Hawkeyes set seven school records, qualified 28 individuals for the NCAA Championships, earned 11 All-America honors, and crowned four Big Ten champions.
In 2014, the men’s 400-meter relay won the Big Ten championship for the second consecutive year. Operating with four new members, the relay broke the school record for the second straight season (39.19), and ran to a sixth-place finish and All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
In 2013, the Hawkeyes earned four individual conference titles and won the Big Ten championship in the 400-meter relay for the first time since 2001. The relay also twice broke the school record, topping out at 39.31 at the NCAA Championships. Woody earned his second career USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year honor. He also earned the honor in 2011 when Iowa captured its first Big Ten team title in 44 years.
In 2012, Woody coached Erik Sowinski to the Big Ten Indoor 800-meter title, and a runner-up finish in the 800 meters at the NCAA Championships.
Woody helped coach Iowa to three Big Ten titles and saw the Hawkeyes break eight school records in 2011. The men’s indoor 1,600-meter relay of Patrick Richards, Ethan Holmes, Sowinski and Steven Willey won its first conference championship since 1984. Woody led Justin Austin to four school records and a 200-meter outdoor conference championship. Austin’s 2011 performance earned him Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year and Big Ten Track Athlete of the Championships honors. He is just the fourth Hawkeye in school history to earn either honor, and he repeated the effort by sweeping both awards in 2013. Woody also helped Holmes qualify for three events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Holmes was a member of Iowa’s mile relay, and was the only NCAA student-athlete to qualify for both the 110- and 400-meter hurdles.
In 2010, Woody helped four athletes earn All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, including Willey, who was a two-time All-American following his performances in the 400 meters and 1,600-meter relay. Willey was joined on the seventh-place relay by Barton, Sowinski and Richards. Ray Varner also qualified for the NCAA Championships following his Big Ten title in the 400-meter hurldes. Willey also nabbed first team Big Ten honors after capturing the 400-meter championship.
In 2009, the men’s 400-meter relay of D’Juan Richardson, Zeke Sayon, Richards and Paul Chaney, Jr. won Iowa’s first Drake Relays title since 1998, placed third at the Big Ten meet and qualified for the NCAA regional. The 400-meter relay of Richardson, Sayon, Stephen Bee and Chaney, Jr., earned all-region honors. Chaney, Jr., and Sayon placed third and fifth, respectively, in the 100 meters at the Big Ten Championships, while Chaney placed fourth in the conference 200 meters. Varner earned his third all-region honor in the 400-meter hurdles, earning a bid to the national meet. Varner, Connor Elmitt and Richardson placed third, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 400-meter hurdles at the Big Ten meet. The 1,600-meter relay of Barton, Richards, Varner and Willey provisionally qualified for the NCAA indoor meet, while the squad of Barton, Sowinski, Varner and Willey qualified for the NCAA regional.
In 2008, Varner earned his second all-region honor in the 400-meter hurdles after making a strong run at the Big Ten title in that event. Both 1,600-meter relays and the outdoor 400-meter relay each earned top five finishes at the Big Ten Championships.
In 2007, Varner and the 400-meter relay team of Max Milder, Aaron Reed, Lee Elbert, Chaney, Jr. earned all-region honors. Chaney, Jr., Varner, Prince Riley and the 1,600-meter relay of David Pierre, Elbert, Varner and Riley all scored team points for Iowa at the Big Ten meet.
Woody joined Iowa’s full-time staff after serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the Hawkeye sprinters and middle distance runners in 2006. He also served as sports performance director and co-owner of Velocity Sports Performance in Cedar Rapids (2005-06).
Woody has also run competitively on the international track circuit, earning a spot on three United States World teams. In 2003, he won the silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the World Championships and was ranked second in the world in the event. Woody was also part of the 1,600-meter relay which won the World Championships gold medal in 1999. In 2000, he was a member of the 3,200-meter relay which set a world record and he missed qualifying for the United States Olympic team by .37 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles.
Woody was a four-time All-American at Northern Iowa, winning the 1997 NCAA title in the 400-meter hurdles. He was inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 2002. He is the only athlete in Drake Relays history to win the Athlete of the Meet award in high school (1992) and college (1994). Woody earned a B.A. in public relations and communications from UNI in 1997, and his M.A. in sports science with honors from the United States Sports Academy in 2013.
He served as assistant coach for men and women’s track at UNI for five seasons (1997-2002). During that time the Panthers won six Missouri Valley Conference team titles, including the first-ever women’s title in 2002. He coached one individual All-American and assisted in coaching two All-American relays.
Woody and his wife, Heather, have two children, Drake and Isabelle. Heather was an all-conference track student-athlete at Northern Iowa, and currently owns Heather Woody Unlimited, INC., which is a corporate and personal success coaching practice.