Mon July 01, 2024

By Lance Hawley

Sports Razorbacks

Razorback legend Wayne Pinnock announces pro decision

Arkansas Track Wayne Pinnock
Razorback legend Wayne Pinnock announces pro decision
Shawn Price

In Kingston for the Jamaica National Trials this weekend, Razorback long jumper Wayne Pinnock announced his decision to forgo his final year of collegiate eligibility at Arkansas for a professional opportunity with Puma.


“I’d like to thank the University of Arkansas, the coaches, trainers, academic advisors, and the entire support staff for an amazing career as a Razorback,” said Pinnock. “I couldn’t have asked for a better environment.


“My family supporting me all these years has also meant the world to me. I couldn’t do this without them. With that I’m excited for this new opportunity and this next chapter of life as a professional athlete. I’m confident I’ve been prepared well and look forward to repping the Puma brand in the coming years.” 


Pinnock, the 2023 World silver medalist and defending Jamaican national champion, competes in the long jump on Saturday at the Jamaica National Trials along with Arkansas alum Carey McLeod.


Last season both advanced to the World Athletics Championships final in Budapest, Hungary, with Pinnock claiming silver as McLeod finished fourth.


In the qualifying round of the World Championships, Pinnock produced a career best mark of 28-0.25 (8.54) as he became the third Razorback to surpass 28 feet in joining Erick Walder (28-8.25 | 8.74) and Jarrion Lawson (28-1.75 | 8.58).


Pinnock ranks third on the Jamaican all-time outdoor list behind Tajay Gayle and James Beckford.


“While I won’t have a Razorback on my chest I’ll remain at Arkansas to train and to finish my degree,” stated Pinnock. “I’m thankful for the past and excited for the future.”


In the past two seasons, Pinnock supplied 41conference and 27 national points towards Arkansas’ four SEC Championships, a 2023 NCAA Indoor team title, along with a pair of NCAA runner-up team finishes.


“Wayne was a team player and scored a lot of SEC and NCAA points,” said Arkansas men’s head coach Chris Bucknam. “I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished on and off the track. He understands the importance of finishing his degree while taking advantage of a life changing opportunity. 


“We support him in this game changing moment in his life and appreciate his amazing career as a Razorback.”


Prior to transferring to Arkansas, Pinnock swept the NCAA Indoor & Outdoor titles as a freshman at Tennessee and added the SEC Outdoor title. As a Razorback, Pinnock defended his SEC Outdoor title in 2023 and placed second at the NCAA Outdoor.


This season, Pinnock added a SEC Indoor long jump title to his collection and then captured the NCAA Indoor long jump with an indoor best 27-6.75 (8.40) that equaled the Jamaican national record. He shares the record with James Beckford and McLeod.


At the 2024 SEC Outdoor Championships, Pinnock claimed his third consecutive long jump title. In the history of the conference Pinnock is just the fourth to achieve that feat and is the third Razorback to do so.


“Wayne is one of the very best all time in both Arkansas and NCAA history,” noted Arkansas associate head coach Travis Geopfert. “His consistency at the highest level is something very few have achieved. I couldn’t be more proud of his time at Arkansas.


“He’s been awesome to coach as a student-athlete and I’m proud to help him continue to develop into one of the premier jumpers in the world. Both he and his family deserve this tremendous opportunity. It’s just the beginning for this young man, who has a lot of great things ahead.”


On all-time collegiate lists, Pinnock ranks equal fifth indoors with the equal sixth best performance. Outdoors, Pinnock ranks No. 11 with his collegiate in-season best of 27-5.5 (8.37). On the UA all-time lists. Pinnock is equal second indoors behind Walder and third outdoors behind Walder and Lawson.