James Blackwood is in his ninth season at UTSA and his seventh as head women’s track and field coach. During Blackwood’s 39-year athletics career, the Abilene, Texas, native has coached his student-athletes to a combined 74 NCAA All-America accolades.
Blackwood has led UTSA back into the national spotlight since taking over the reigns in 2002. He is quickly making UTSA track and field a respected program nationally, traveling his squad to some of the top meets in the nation such as Texas Relays, Penn Relays, Drake Relays, Kansas Relays and Mt. SAC Relays.
During his tenure in San Antonio, Blackwood has tutored two All-Americans in Rhonda Ray and Ryanne Dupree, more than 60 all-conference performers and 26 Southland Conference champions. Seventeen school records have been broken under his watch.
Among the outstanding athletes he has coached are: Olympian Patrick Sang (1992 silver medalist), Johnny “Lam” Jones (4x100-meter relay gold medalist), Henry Marsh (American record holder in the steeplechase and four-time Olympian) and James Lott (NCAA high jump champion). In all, Blackwood has coached 17 Olympians.
The awards his student-athletes have received are not limited to the track. During his tenure, Roadrunners have garnered two Academic All-America certificates, four Academic All-District accolades, four SLC Student-Athlete of the Year honors and 11 Academic All-SLC awards.
One of the power brokers in track and field in Texas, Blackwood also has served as an associate director of the Texas Relays since 1972 and for five NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Blackwood began his coaching career in 1965 at Corpus Christi W.B. Ray High School where he was an assistant track and cross country coach. His cross country team won the state championship in 1965 and was runner-up in 1966.
From 1967-70, he was the head track and assistant football coach at Corpus Christi King High. The next two years, Blackwood assumed the same duties at Richardson High near Dallas.
Blackwood began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Texas in 1972 as an assistant track and field/cross country coach with the Longhorns. In addition to the All-Americans produced at Texas, Blackwood’s team’s captured 13 Southwest Conference Championships. During his 12 years as an assistant at UT, the Longhorns finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships 11 times.
In 1985, he was named recruiting coordinator for the Texas football team. The Longhorns captured one Southwest Conference football title and went to three bowls during Blackwood’s recruiting tenure. Twenty-five of his players went on to play in the NFL.
Seven years later, Blackwood was named an academic counselor at Texas. In 1996, he left the collegiate ranks to work with the Houston Astros Baseball Club.
Blackwood returned to college coaching in 1997 as the head cross country and assistant track and field coach at Southern Mississippi University.
A 1964 graduate of Abilene Christian University, Blackwood has been married to Dr. Susan Blackwood, executive director of the San Antonio Sports Foundation, since 1989. Blackwood has one daughter, Jessica, and one granddaughter, Taylor (15).