Last night, nine former student-athletes and coaches were indcuted at TCF Bank Stadium
Shani Marks Johnson rejoined the Minnesota track & field coaching staff as a volunteer assistant in August 2012. A former Golden Gopher standout, she went on to win multiple USA Championships and ultimately compete in the Olympics. She previously served as volunteer assistant for the Gophers from 2003 to 2009. She will coach long jump and triple jump.
Marks more recently returned to her high school alma mater, Apple Valley, to coach jumps and sprints during the last two years. She has also spent time coaching with the Real Track and Field AAU team and Fuzion Athletics training club, and working as a personal trainer and personal coach.
In 2008, Marks qualified for the Olympics by winning at the Trials with a career best and Hayward Field record of 47 feet, 2 1/4 inches. She went on to finish 28th in Beijing. Marks is one of three Olympians ever to come out of the Minnesota track and field program. She is the only Golden Gopher track and field athlete to compete for Team USA in the Olympic Games.
During her collegiate career at Minnesota, Marks earned All-America honors during both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2003, with a runner-up finish in triple jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and a sixth-place finish indoors. She was previously an All-American outdoors in 2002. She also won three Big Ten titles: two in outdoor triple jump (2001 and `03), and one in the indoor 600 meters (2001). Marks was a first-team Academic All-American in 2003.
The year after her Gopher career ended, Marks finished fourth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. In the next four years, she won three USA Outdoor triple jump titles (2006, '07, '08) and two USA Indoor titles (2005 and '07). She competed for Team USA at the 2007 and 2009 Outdoor World Championships, the 2008 Indoor World Championships, and the 2006 World Cup.
"Obviously she's had a great career," head coach Matt Bingle said. "She's coached with me before, and we have a good coaching connection in terms of our style. I think she does a good job of understanding the student-athletes and relating with them. She automatically gets respect from them. She's a former Olympian, she's being inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame, and she's one of the greatest triple jumpers ever in the United States. And she's a great person. I think she'll connect well with the team, and I think she'll do a good job of developing them because she's going to have a small group to deal with and can focus on them."
Marks earned her bachelor's degree in public relations in 2002. She completed her master's of education in applied kinesiology in 2003.
Marks and her husband, former Gopher football player Ron Johnson, have a daughter named Kamryn.