Iowa City native and World Champion runner Joey Woody was named UI director of track and field/cross country in July 2014.
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 39 Big Ten individual titles, 11 conference relay titles, a men’s Big Ten team title, two Big Ten Athletes of the Year, and 146 All-America honors.
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 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 when Laulauga Tausaga threw a school record discus. Tausaga was also named USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Field Athlete of the Year, Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year, and Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championships. 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 led 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.