Courtesy Kansas City Media Relations
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Athletics Director Dr. Brandon Martin announced that Benaud Shirley is the new track and field and cross country head coach, effective immediately. Shirley was named the interim head coach on Dec. 19, 2018 after the resignation of Shameika McField.
Shirley was the Kansas City Associate Head Coach from April 2008 until his new appointment last December, specializing in mentoring the jumpers. In that span, Shirley was part of five overall Western Athletic Conference (WAC) team championships: two in men's cross country, two in women's outdoor track and field and one in men's outdoor track and field.
"I am grateful for the opportunity by Dr. Martin and excited to lead the Kansas City Track and Field/Cross Country programs," said Shirley. "It is rewarding to continue to grow this program to achieve comprehensive excellence and to help develop young men and women to be future leaders."
This past academic year, Benaud led the Roos to a top-three team finish at the conference outdoor championships (men) and cross country championships (women). Individually, Shirley tutored Christopher Bryan, who claimed the WAC Men's Field Outstanding Athlete honor and the Men's High Point title at the indoor meet.
Benaud's consistent success and experience for the Kansas City running programs has been very evident, so the decision for Dr. Martin was a simple one.
"We are thrilled to have coach Shirley lead our Track & Field and Cross Country programs," said Martin. "Benaud has been a member of this department for years and has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our student-athletes, department, and university. His vision for our program is absolutely congruent with our comprehensive excellence agenda."
A 2004 graduate of Kansas, Shirley was a nine-time all-Big 12 Conference jumper. He was the conference champion in the outdoor triple jump in 2002 and 2003, and he was an NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field National Championships participant. In the classroom, he was a four-time Jayhawk Scholar, which is an award given to student-athletes that achieve a 3.0 grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale.
On the national scene, Shirley was the 2003 Jamaica senior national triple jump champion, and he was the national representative at the 2003 Pan American Games.
A native of Portland, Jamaica, Shirley earned his Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Kansas in May 2004. Shirley and his wife, Carmen, have four daughters: Alyiah, Azariah, Adele, and Alina. They reside in Basehor, Kan.
The Roos begin the 2019 cross country season Friday, Aug. 30 at the Mizzou Opener in Columbia, Mo.