Powell is filling the Bruin coaching vacancy left by Robert Johnson, who recently joined the University of Oregon track & field staff after two seasons with the Bruins.
"It feels good to be back home," Powell said. "This has been my dream coaching job and now I'm here. My goals are to help the program become stronger and I look forward to helping our athletes perform well at the conference, West Region and NCAA meets, and beyond. I plan on using the same determination, dedication and hard work in my coaching that helped me set the world record."
Powell, 41, set the world record in the long jump (29-4.50) at the 1991 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Tokyo, winning an epic dual against Carl Lewis and handing Lewis his first defeat in the event in 10 years. During his heralded long jump career, Powell was a two-time World Champion (1993/1991), two-time Olympic Silver Medalist (1992/1988) and six-time U. S. Champion (1996-95-94-93-92-90). He was the world's dominant long jumper in 1993 and '94, winning 34 competitions in a row. In 1991 he was given the AAU's James E. Sullivan Memorial Award as the nation's top amateur athlete.
He began his collegiate season at UC Irvine and transferred to UCLA in 1985. In 1984, his last at UC Irvine, Powell finished second at the U. S. Outdoor and placed sixth at the Olympic Trials. During Powell's UCLA redshirt year of 1985, he was ranked No. 10 in the world and placed third at the U. S. Outdoor. His senior Bruin season of 1986 was hampered by a hamstring injury. Powell earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in 1990 and prepped at Edgewood HS in West Covina.
Powell's post-track career includes a four-year stint (2000-04) as the sprint and jumps coach at CS Fullerton and managing his own business, High Performance Training (coaching individual athletes and teams in various sports on how to improve speed and explosion). From 2003-04, Powell was a speed, agility and quickness consultant for the Dodgers. Since 2004, he has also been a corporate spokesperson and motivational speaker. Powell is also involved in the humanitarian efforts of Olympic Aid, an organization made up of Olympic Athletes who have devoted their time and efforts to helping children around the world. UCLA women's head coach Jeanette Bolden announced Powell's hiring on Thursday.
"It's great to have another UCLA alum return to join our coaching staff," said Bolden. "And in Mike Powell, this alum also happens to be a world record holder. Our athletes are excited to work with Mike. He brings to our program an expertise in the jumps area."
Powell is the third UCLA alumni to recently join the UCLA track & field coaching staff, along with Seilala Sua (women's throws) and Scott Abbott (distances).
Bruin men's track and field head coach Art Venegas echoes Bolden's praises.
"I consider Mike Powell an exceptional human being and coach," Venegas said. "I'm thrilled to be bringing in a legendary Bruin into our coaching ranks. The addition of Mike Powell will have a positive affect on our athletes. He brings so many skills to our staff - we can't wait to see the results that Mike will bring to the program."