Friday, July 3, 2009

Major coaching shakeup on the West Coast...

Two major pieces of news involving high-profile track & field coaches on the West Coast have surfaced in recent days.

First came the news out of the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California that resident coach Dan Pfaff was hired by UK Athletics to head up a second British high performance center in Lee Valley.

Pfaff, who coached Donovan Bailey to the 1996 Olympic title over 100 meters, was recently working with a group of athletes at the Olympic Training Center, including Mountlake Terrace's Brad Walker.

Next comes word out of UCLA that the contract of long time throws coach and head men's coach Art Venegas was not renewed, according to Glenn L. Toth, Sr. Associate Athletic Director and sport supervisor for the track and field program.

"We appreciate everything Art has done for the program during his 28 years as both an assistant and head coach," said Toth. "But we felt a change in leadership was necessary for the program at this time.

"Art is the preeminent throws coach in the nation. We extended an offer to him to remain on the staff to coach our throwers, but he declined."

Venegas joined the UCLA staff for the 1982 season and served as an assistant coach for 16 years before to becoming head coach prior to the 2000 season. For most of his tenure in Westwood, he coached both the men and women throwers, producing numerous Pac-10 and NCAA champions, as well as Olympians.

Stay tuned...

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