23 student-athletes to compete
Looking for first title since 2010
Second straight DMR title for Minnesota at Drake
Tough conditions on the track not a factor for Gophers' 4x800
Hassan Mead and Pieter Gagnon to run the 10k at the Payton Jordan at Stanford
Paul Thornton is in his fourth season as an assistant coach for the Golden Gopher men's track & field team. Thornton oversees the Gophers' sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers and multi-event athletes.
In 2011 Thornton guides thesprinters, jumpers, and multi-event athletes to very successful seasons. He guided the 4x400 relay to an NCAA berth aswell as fourth All-Americans in Harun Abda, Kevin Bradley, Jacob Capek and John Holton.
Thornton, a Northfield, Minn., native, came to Minnesota after five years as the head men's and women's head track coach at Washington University in St. Louis, a powerful NCAA Division III program. The Bears' women's team placed third at the 2008 NCAA Division III Indoor Championships andThornton was recognized as the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
During Thornton's tenure, Washington won 14 University Athletic Association (UAA) team titles. The women's team captured UAA titles in nine of the 10 championships (indoor and outdoor) contested during his reign with the Bears. The Bears swept the men's and women's UAA team titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Thornton spent three seasons as the head men's and women's track & field coach at St. Mary's (Minn.) before moving to Washington. He started his coaching career at Illinois State, first as a graduate assistant, then as an assistant coach and finally with four seasons as ISU's associate head coach (1996-2000).
Thornton was a three-time Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAC) honoree during his collegiate track career at St. Olaf. He helped the Oles' 4x400-meter relay to an NCAA Championships appearance in 1993 and was voted the team's most valuable runner. Thornton earned four varsity letters in both cross country and track at St. Olaf, while being coached by his father Bill. He earned a bachelor's degree in sports science in 1993.
Thornton, who earned a master's degree in exercise physiology and biomechanics from Illinois State in 1995, and his wife Julie have two children, Marisa and Zach.