Knights finish strong at American Athletic Conference Championship
Johnny Gray joined the UCF track and field staff in July 2013 as an assistant coach to take charge of the Knights' distance and cross country programs. Gray's credentials speak for themselves.
He is the 1992 Olympic 800M bronze medalist; a 4-time Olympian; the 1987, 1999 Pan Am Games champion; a 7-time U.S. Outdoor 800M national champion; a 3-time Olympic Trials champion and the American 800M record holder indoors (1:45.00) and outdoors (1:42.60).
In his two seasons at the helm of the Knights' cross country program, UCF has placed fourth at the conference meet in both 2013 and 2014, a feat not achieved for the team since 2004.
Gray has helped Anne-Marie Blaney develop into an elite distance runner, winning the American Athletic Conference individual title in 2013 and qualifying for both the NCAA Cross Country and Outdoor Track Championships in 2014. Blaney holds seven UCF school records between cross country, indoor and outdoor track.
The Knights' have excelled off the course as well. The cross country team has earned the USTFCCCA All-Academic Award in 2013 and 2014, while Blaney has garnered USTFCCCA individual honors both seasons.
A native of Compton, Calif., Gray spent the four years prior to UCF as the middle distance coach at UCLA. He transitioned to collegiate track and field after coaching at Harvard-Westlake High School where he guided the cross country team to the State meet for the first time in the program's history (placed 9th out of 26 teams).
Gray also coached one of America's elite half-milers, Khadevis Robinson, to five USATF Championship titles. Today, he helps coach Duane Solomon, a former USC Trojan, who won gold in the 800M at the USA Championships and emerged as Team USA's highest finisher in the 800M finals (fourth place) at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
He received the U.S. Olympic Committee's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and was a USATF Hall of Fame inductee in 2008. Gray is also a hall of fame inductee for Santa Monica College, Mt. SAC and Madison Square Garden/Melrose Games.
He continued to compete in master's events and still holds the American indoor 800M records for the 35-39 age division (1:49.79) and 40-44 age division (1:48.81) as well as the outdoor 800M record for the 35-39 age division (1:43.36).
Gray and his wife Judy have three sons - Johnny Gray III, Jared and Jaylon - and four grandchildren.