Married Couple Pledge to Join Illini Track Coaching Team

CHAMPAGNE, Ill. – Illinois Athletics Head Coach Petros Kyprianou continues his momentum to gather his team of coaches around him. This time he catches a husband and wife package James C. Lambert (JC), who will be the throwing coach, and Deanna Award who will join as a volunteer. JC arrives in Illini after spending time at Southern Illinois University (SIU).

Lambert started at SIU in 2013 in a volunteer role where he was responsible for hammer throwers and developing athletes. He also assisted the throwing coach in running the throwing practice as well as the weight room. In 2015, he was promoted to assistant coach and pitching coach. He was responsible for the throwing events and supervised the weight room for the throwers. Managing home meets for pitchers and providing call/equipment assistance were also part of his repertoire.

“I am very happy to welcome Coach Lambert and his wife/world champion Deanna Price to the Illini family,” said Kyprianou. “His pedigree, work ethic and intelligence is the combination that led me to offer him. One of the best ultra-accomplished young coaches, JC will have an immediate impact on our program. I was impressed with his behavior and the fact that resulted in a world champion, as well as the development of a group of student-athletes to All-American status makes me excited for our pitchers and to achieve our goals as a team!”

Lambert has produced 6 USATF-NCAA national titles, 20 NCAA All-Americans, 33 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) champions, 72 MVC All-Conference selections, and 44 top-ten all-rounders. SIU time. He is best known for producing 2019 Olympic hammer thrower/world champion Deanna Price. Price won the hammer throw at the 2016 NCAA Championships and placed eighth at the 2016 Olympics.

“I am beyond grateful and thrilled for this opportunity to work for one of the best coaches in the industry,” Lambert said. “Coach Kyprianou’s passion, vision and expectations for Illini’s athletics program has really sold me and resonated with the goals I have for myself and for pitchers. I want to thank SIU for all they have done for me over the past 14 years as a student-athlete and assistant coach I am thrilled to get to work and help build his vision and build the success of Fighting Ilini Nation!”

Lambert competed in the SIU as a pitcher before his coaching days. He broke four school records in the indoor/outdoor shot put, shot put and hammer throw. He graduated from SIU with his bachelor’s degree in sports administration.

Price also joins Illini’s athletics coaching staff as a volunteer. She holds the American record and number two all-time women’s hammer throw, 80.31m (263′ 5.8″). She is a two-time Olympian (2016 and 2021). She has enjoyed success on the world stage: Gold Medal – 2019 World Championship, Gold Medal – 2018 NACAC, Gold Medal – 2018 Continental Cup, Silver Medal – 2015 NACAC and Silver Medal – 2016 NACAC U23.

“I’m very excited about this new opportunity at the University of Illinois,” Price said. “I look forward to sharing my personal expertise and work ethic with student-athletes. We will be forever grateful to the Saluki Nation and what they have done for us. I am beyond excited to begin training for the 2023 season and new adventures for Coach Lambert and I. We look forward to the future success of Illini’s athletics program.