NEWS: Tennessee & Alford-Sullivan Have "Mutually Agreed" to Part Ways, Move is Effective Immediately
The University of Tennessee has announced that the school and Beth Alford-Sullivan, who has held the Director role for the Volunteers' men's and women's track and field and cross country teams since 2014, have "mutually agreed to part ways" on Thursday.
The move is effectively immediately.
Assistant coach Ken Harnden, who oversees the sprints, hurdles and relays at Tennessee, will take over as the interim head coach, "while a comprehensive search for a permanent replacement is conducted."
Alford-Sullivan is in the last year of her coaching contract which was extended back in 2018. Her expected base pay for the 2021-2022 academic year is $230,000.
Since then, Tennessee has named Danny White as the school's newest Athletic Director in January of 2021. According to KnoxNews.com, this is now the second coach who White has not retained following an expiring contact.
Former Tennessee women's golf coach Judi Pavon was the first.
At the time of publication, Alford-Sullivan is no longer listed as a coach on Tennessee's track and field website.
During her tenure in Knoxville, Tennessee, Alford-Sullivan never won an SEC title in cross country, indoor track or outdoor track. However, the Volunteers did have their men's team place 3rd at the SEC Outdoor Championships this spring, their best finish since 2008 when they also placed 3rd.
Following their 3rd place team finish, Alford-Sullivan told KnoxNews.com, "I hope that people can recognize what this really means for Tennessee...A top-three finish is a really big deal. This is the best conference in the world."
Their women's team placed 9th at the same meet.
Alford-Sullivan also led Bowerman Award winner Christian Coleman to five NCAA titles before he ultimately went pro and signed a contract with Nike.
The sudden departure of Alford-Sullivan comes as a surprise with the regional and national meets still remaining on Tennessee's 2022 outdoor track schedule. The now-former Tennessee coach has been a highly revered figure amongst coaching circles, emerging as the first woman in SEC history to oversee a men's program in any sport.