Get to know Terry VanLaningham

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

The Saluki track and field coaching staff has undergone an overhaul in the offseason. 

Changes began July 21 when then-track coach Connie Price-Smith took the head coaching position at the University of Mississippi. 

Four event coaches left the university with Price-Smith, including pole vault and javelin coach Brian Porter.


Terry VanLaningham, who came from Sacramento State with his wife and new head coach Kathleen Raske, took over for Porter. He will serve as associate head coach and coach the jumps, pole vault and the multiple-event competitions. 

“When [Price-Smith] left, it was big news around the college world,” he said. “I became aware quickly that a position would be open.” 

VanLaningham served as the Director of Track and Field/Cross-Country at Sacramento State. He said his transition between jobs has been smooth, but it has taken longer than normal.

“It’s taken a bit to learn everyone’s name and their strengths and weaknesses but it hasn’t been a difficult transition in the sense that the pole vaulting fundamentals remain the same,” he said. “Being from Kansas, it’s a welcome change to come back home to the Midwest.”

From a players perspective, a new coach means a new coaching style.

Junior pole vaulter Katie Trupp said the team was surprised they were getting a new coach but were excited about getting to work with VanLaningham.

“He’s very technical and breaks down a lot in what we can improve on and change our biomechanics and it’s something that has helped us a lot in the few months we’ve worked with him,” she said.

Before Sacramento State, VanLaningham was the pole vault coach at Wichita State from 2000 to 2003. At Wichita, he coached seven All-Americans and Olympian Randy Lewis who competed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in the triple jump.

VanLaningham said previous knowledge of the MVC will help in the long run with competition and recruiting.

“It’s definitely an advantage to us in the sense that we can know our competition and their strengths and weaknesses and we can attack from a strategic and competitive standpoint,” he said.

Raske said the program is fortunate to have VanLaningham coaching at SIU because of his coaching experience and credentials. She said he was her first choice, regardless of their marriage. 

“When we were both at Sacramento State there were several power five conference schools that tried to recruit him away from us,” she said. “We’ve proven to be a great partnership in the sense we were able to win 17 Big Sky titles and it is something we hope to continue here at SIU.”

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3333