OWENSBORO, Ky. -- Kentucky Wesleyan will add men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field beginning in 2013, according to KWC Athletic Director David Williams.

The addition of track and field brings the Panthers’ athletic program total to 17 Division II sports with eight men's sports and nine women.

“Track and field at KWC is a great fit for this community,” Williams said. “Owensboro and the surrounding regions are rich with talent. Our program will have an opportunity to grow in size and quality very quickly.”

Williams also announced Notre Dame College coach John Blackwell has been named head coach for the Panther’s cross country squads as well as the inaugural track and field teams.

Blackwell, a native of Louisville, spent the past two seasons as the Falcons' head men’s and women’s track and field coach and interim men’s and women’s cross country coach in South Euclid, Ohio. He produced two All-Americans, 10 NAIA national qualifiers, nine conference champions, 13 all-conference performers and his teams set 10 school records in both cross country and track programs.

“John was highly recommended to us,” Williams said. “He’s a very good communicator who will grow our cross country and track and field programs quickly. His experience as a head coach and his ability to coach multiple events was very attractive.”

Blackwell said: "The opportunity to take hold of a cross country and track program at an institution the caliber of Kentucky Wesleyan, while returning to my home state, is definitely a blessing. The expansion of our program and the move into a new conference are changes that excite us all. Challenges lie ahead of us but we will meet them with a  ferocity befitting our fine institution."

Prior to NDC, he served as the assistant track and field coach at Bellarmine for four seasons.

His BU throwers fashioned three NCAA provisional qualifiering performances and five All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honorees as they set 14 school records.

He started his coaching career as an assistant cross country and track and field coach at North Iowa Area Community College during the 2005-06 seasons. During his tenure at NIACC, he coached seven United States Track and Field Coaches Association All-Americans, 35 NJCAA national qualifiers, 15 region champions while setting 20 school records.

Blackwell led the Louisville track squad for three seasons in throwing the discus, shot put and hammer as a student-athlete. He also competed at Florida International his freshman year.