Monday, August 27, 2012

WSU distance coach Pete Julian leaves Cougars for Nike Oregon Project...

PULLMAN--In what can only be described as a bit of a surprise, with the cross country season right around the corner and the team's first meet on Saturday, Pete Julian (left/photo courtesy Washington State University), the Washington State head cross country coach and distance coach for track & field, resigned Monday.

Julian, who led the 2011 Cougar men's cross country team to its first NCAA championship meet since 2006, where the squad finished 21st, has accepted a coaching position with Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project.

In a statement released by Washington State, Julian said, "I have learned more from working for Rick Sloan than any coach I have been involved with. "His work ethic has inspired me and made me realize how hard I have to work to be successful."

Julian, an Oregon native and graduate of the University of Portland, who competed in the 1999 IAAF world championships in the 10000, will assist Salazar with a group of athletes that includes double Olympic champion Mo Farah, Olympic 10000 meter silver medalist Galen Rupp, and three-time US Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein.

"This is an exciting opportunity that presents some new challenges for me," Julian said. "We are at a place with the sport of track and field where the direction of the Nike Oregon Project is making a difference."

In the USTFCCCA Division I regional men's pre-season poll released Monday, the Cougar men's team was ranked #6 in the West Region, with Portland, Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, and Cal ahead of Washington State.

The school has not made a decision on who will coach the Cougar cross country team; however, volunteer coach Tim Riley is running the workouts.

NOTE:  The Washington State University sports information office contributed to this report.

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