Long considered a rising star in the profession, Aliann Pompey has been chosen to lead the St. John’s Track & Field and Cross Country programmes as its next head coach, it was announced on Wednesday by Director of Athletics, Mike Cragg.
Pompey, who has been at St. John’s since the fall of 2014, most recently served as the programme’s associate head coach for the 2020-21 academic year. She will take over from her former boss and mentor Jim Hurt, who retired last month after four decades with the Red Storm.
“I want to thank Mike Cragg for his vote of confidence and his support in appointing me as the head coach,” said Pompey. “It is with great honour that I accept this position. I have seen the growth and successes of this team over the years – from a distance when I was in college, and intimately over the last seven years. I want to continue the tradition of excellence for which we’ve become known.
“I thank Coach Hurt for his guidance and patience while I found my coaching voice, and (I thank) Kathy Meehan, whose leadership has served as a model for me. I am excited to continue working with our returning student-athletes, who have committed to making our team better. Joined by the incoming class, we’ll strive to be impactful, not just with the BIG EAST, but nationally.”
Tasked with guiding the Red Storm’s sprinters and hurdlers during her time on Hurt’s staff, Pompey has seen St. John’s student-athletes rewrite the record books during her tenure at Queen’s.
“I am very pleased and proud to see Coach Pompey become our next head coach,” said Hurt. “She is exceptionally qualified to lead the programme to new heights. It’s been my fortune to work with Aliann these past seven years, and her record of accomplishments (has) been outstanding. She is a person of character, and always has her athletes’ best interest at heart. I look forward to following all the great things she will accomplish in pushing the programme forward in the years ahead.”
Pompey’s pupils’ own school indoor records in the 60-metre hurdles, the 200 and 400 metres, the 500 metres and the 2×200-metre relay. They also set the programme’s second fastest time in the 4×400-metre relay. In outdoor competition, Pompey’s athletes hold school marks in the 100-metre hurdles, 800 metres and 4×100-metre relay.
“During my tenure at St. John’s, Coach Pompey has demonstrated time and time again that she has what it takes to lead a high-calibre programme of her own,” said Cragg. “In addition to being an outstanding athlete in her own right, with national championship pedigree, she has shown that she possesses the rare ability to elevate the talents of the athletes she mentors and help them reach their full potential. I have the utmost confidence that Coach Pompey will continue to help the track & field program reach new heights as its head coach.”
With Pompey on staff, the Red Storm has sent 18 athletes to NCAA competition.
Pompey has also been active on the administrative side of the sport, serving as the president of the Panam Sports Athlete Commission beginning in 2019. In that role, she was elected to represent more than 6,600 athletes across 41 countries that compete in the Pan American Games. Prior to taking over as president, Pompey served as a member of the Athletes’ Commission for four years. She is also a member of the organization’s executive board and a liaison to the International Olympic Committee.
Pompey’s career as an accomplished coach came after more than a decade as one of the world’s premier track athletes. A four-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012) representing her home country of Guyana, Pompey also competed in four Outdoor World Championships and four IAAF World Indoor Championships. In 2016, Pompey served as the manager of the Guyanese Olympic squad in Rio de Janeiro.
A 400-meter specialist who turned in a personal-best mark of 50.71 at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Pompey won the NCAA 400-meter national championship in 2000 while competing for Manhattan College. A double alumnus of Manhattan, Pompey earned a finance degree in 1999 before completing her MBA in 2003. (St. John’s University)