Entering his 25th season at the helm of the men’s track & field program, and his 30th season at Penn in 2011-12, Charlie Powell looks to continue establishing his mark of success in the illustrious history of Penn track and field. Six student-athletes under Powell’s tutelage still hold individual Heptagonal records, and the Quakers have won five Heps team titles during his tenure at Penn. The program also finished second at the IC4As in 1998 and 11th at the NCAAs in 2003.
Adding to that success in 2011, freshman Maalik Reynolds claimed outdoor All-America honors. Also under Powell last year, Reynolds set school records in the indoor and outdoor high jump en route to claiming the indoor and outdoor Heptagonal titles and the indoor IC4A title. In addition, the 4x800 relay team won the outdoor heptagonal and IC4A championships.
Under Powell, Penn has now had at least one Heptagonal champion each year since 1989.
A year earlier, three Quakers qualified for the NCAA Championships, five earned All-Ivy status, 13 garnered All-East recognition and Tim Carey won the Heptagonal title in the 60-meter hurdles.
Following the cross country team’s top-10 finish at the NCAA Regionals in 2009, triple jumper John Carelli captured the indoor Heptagonal championship. Two months later, Max Westman became the first Quaker since 1932 to win the Penn Relays title in the decathlon, and at the outdoor Heptagonal championships, Penn claimed two individual titles and a relays title to finish third—its best team finish since 2004. In all, nine Quakers qualified for the NCAA Regionals.
In 2008, Westman reached the NCAA Championships in the decathlon while Mike Hall was an academic All-American and Tim Kaijala, who earned all-region honors in the 800 meters, was honored as the University of Pennsylvania recipient of the prestigious Class of 1915 Award. Kaijala also won three Heps titles and set the school record in the indoor 1,000 meters in 2007. In that same year, Kyle Calvo made his third appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and won the heptathlon title at Indoor Heps.
In 2004-05, for the sixth year in a row, the Quakers had an All-America at the end of the season when Courtney Jaworski—a junior at the time—took seventh in the 800 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. That made him the 13th All-America honoree under Powell. Powell’s student-athletes established three new school records, two were Heptagonal Athletes of the Meet, two competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, eight qualified for regionals and nine won conference titles.
In 2003-04, Powell coached three NCAA participants, one All-American, one Academic All-American, 15 All-East and 12 All-Ivy honorees, and the team earned a Team Academic All-America award. Powell also coached seven athletes who took part in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Two athletes, Sam Burley and Brian Chaput, won NCAA individual championships in 2003, with Burley taking home the title in the 800 meters and Chaput winning gold in the javelin. All together that year, Powell coached four NCAA participants, four All-Americans, one Academic All-American, nine All-East and nine All-Ivy honorees.
In 2001-02, Powell was selected as the Mondo Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year by his peers of the United States Track Coaches Association. During that time, he led the Red and Blue to back-to-back Outdoor Heptagonal titles as well as guiding Burley toward becoming the third-fastest American in the 800 meters. Burley ultimately earned a place on Team USA for the 2003 IAAF World Championships.
In addition to his duties leading the men’s track and field program at Penn, Powell lends a hand each year at the Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track and field carnival in the world, as the distance events coordinator.
Before succeeding Irv Mondschein as head coach at Penn, Powell served as his assistant and was head cross country coach for five seasons. As Mondschein’s assistant, Powell helped the Quakers win the Indoor Heptagonal title in 1984 and led 10 individuals to Heps titles.
In 1979, Powell became the head coach at the University of Delaware, where he produced 12 individual conference champions, earned one Eastern Collegiate Conference team championship and guided 17 athletes to school records.
Also prior to his arrival at the University of Pennsylvania, Powell was an assistant coach for Western Kentucky University’s track and field program from 1976 to 1979.
At Western Kentucky, Powell helped produce four NCAA All-Americans and three sub-four minute milers, as well as five conference team champions and two Top-20 team finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Powell graduated magna cum laude from Western Kentucky University with his Bachelors of Science in physical education; he also earned his master’s degree from WKU in exercise physiology.
As a runner, Powell qualified for the NCAAs in both the hurdles and decathlon, and prior to enrolling at WKU he was a letterwinner in both football and track and field as well as a Dean’s List student at Virginia Tech.
Powell was named the 800-meter event coordinator for the USATF Olympic Development Committee and travels to Europe with a group of America’s best middle-distance runners each summer. He was a member of the NCAA Cross Country Coaches Association Executive Committee, and served as the NCAA Division I District II representative.
Powell currently resides in Wilmington, Del., with his wife Susan, their son, Shane, and daughter, Kayla.