On Aug. 1, 2019, Benaud Shirley was named the new Kansas City Track and Field and Cross Country head coach. Shirley was named the interim head coach on Dec. 19, 2018 after the resignation of Shameika McField. He will be in his 10th year heading into the 2019-20 academic year.
Shirley was the associate head coach from April 2008 until his new appointment last December, specializing in mentoring the jumpers. In that span, Shirley was part of five overall Western Athletic Conference (WAC) team championships: two in men’s cross country, two in women’s outdoor track and field and one in men’s outdoor track and field.
“I am grateful for the opportunity by Dr. Martin and excited to lead the Kansas City Track and Field/Cross Country programs,” said Shirley. “It is rewarding to continue to grow this program to achieve comprehensive excellence and to help develop young men and women to be future leaders.”
During the 2018-19 academic year, Benaud led the Roos to a top-three team finish at the conference outdoor championships (men) and cross country championships (women). Individually, Shirley tutored Christopher Bryan, who claimed the WAC Men’s Field Outstanding Athlete honor and the Men’s High Point title at the indoor meet.
Shirley joined the Kansas City track and field program as an assistant coach in April 2008. Prior to that, he had served as a volunteer assistant coach at Kansas from 2003-08.
In 2013, Shirley helped D.C. Okonta to the title in Triple Jump and Rich McCoy to the title in the long jump at The Summit League Outdoor Track & Field Championships, with Okonta adding Summit League Outdoor Championships Field MVP, while Okonta, McCoy and Stephany Johnson all advanced to the NCAA West Regionals, while in 2014, Josh Harden earned First Team All-WAC honors with a second place finish in the triple jump.
In 2012 under his tutelage, Okonta (47-03.50 - 14.41m) and Johnson (40-06.75 - 12.36m) both took home the silver medal in the triple jump at The Summit League Indoor Championships.
In outdoor action, Dontay Taylor brought home the bronze (24-03.75 - 7.41m) in the long jump at the league championships and would later place 36th (23-11.50 - 7.30m) in the same event at the NCAA West Regionals.
During the 2011 outdoor season, Shirley guided two individuals to the NCAA West Regionals, including Oscar Emegano (2011 - Long Jump) and D.C. Okonta (2011 - Triple Jump).
During the 2009 Summit League Indoor Championship, Shirley had two jumpers compete in the triple jump finals and coached D.C. Okonta to a silver medal. He also coached Oscar Emegano to a third place finish at The League Indoor Championship in the long jump. Shirley had three student-athletes land on the UMKC all-time top-five performance list.
Shirley coached Okonta to a pair of bronze medals in both the long and triple jump at the 2009 Summit League Outdoor Championship. He again had two jumpers in the finals at The League Outdoor Championship in the triple jump and had one athlete land in UMKC's all-time top-five performance list.
Shirley coached Marcus Lee to four Summit League Championship titles during the 2009 indoor and outdoor seasons. Lee was both the long and triple jump champion at the indoor and outdoor Summit League Championships, earning four all-league honors in two events. Lee broke the indoor school record in the triple jump at the Mule Relays with a jump of 51-01.50, and he ranks third on the UMKC all-time top-five performance list in the long jump with a mark of 24-01.50. Shirley also coached Lee to an NCAA provisional qualifying mark in 2009.
During the 2009 outdoor season, Lee posted four NCAA regional qualifying marks en route to placing fourth at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships with a personal best and school record mark of 52-07.25. In addition to coaching Lee to a pair of Summit League Outdoor Championship titles in the long and triple jumps, Shirley had two other jumpers in the triple jump finals. D.C. Okonta finished fifth in the event with a personal best jump of 47-05.75 and Charlie Larson took sixth with a mark of 47-02.50.
A 2004 graduate of Kansas, Shirley was a nine-time all-Big 12 Conference jumper. He was the conference champion in the outdoor triple jump in 2002 and 2003, and he was an NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field National Championships participant. In the classroom, he was a four-time Jayhawk Scholar, which is an award given to student-athletes that achieve a 3.0 grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale.
On the national scene, Shirley was the 2003 Jamaica senior national triple jump champion, and he was the national representative at the 2003 Pan American Games.
A native of Portland, Jamaica, Shirley earned his Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Kansas in May 2004. Shirley and his wife, Carmen, have four daughters: Alyiah, Azariah, Adele, and Alina. They reside in Basehor, Kan.