PULLMAN--In a press release issued by Washington State University, head men's and women's track & field coach Rick Sloan (left, with Bernard Lagat/photo courtesy Washington State) announced that he will retire from the school following the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.
"This will be my final year as a head coach at Washington State," Sloan said. "I’m not done coaching as I feel like I still have more coaching in me but I don’t know what direction that will take me. At this point in time, with my wife Sandy’s illness a couple of years ago, we need to move on with our life and spend some time together."
Sloan has been with the Cougar track and field program for 40 years, including the last 18 as head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs and one additional year as the head coach for the men’s team. During his tenure as the Cougar track program's mentor, Sloan has seen Cougar men set 22 school records and Cougar women set 84 school records. He has directed 42 WSU athletes to NCAA Outdoor All-American status 76 times, and directed 33 athletes to NCAA Indoor All-American status 47 times.
When Sloan was named the head track and field coach at Washington State in June of 1994, he had already invested 21 years of service to the program and the university as an assistant coach. From 1973 until the summer of 1994, he had been an assistant coach, directing WSU athletes in field events, hurdles, sprints, and decathlon.
Sloan, who was raised in Southern California, graduated from UCLA, and was a 1968 US Olympian in the decathlon, where he finished seventh, and had coaching stints at Cal Tech, Pasadena City College, and Mt. SAC before coming over to WSU in 1973 to work with John Chaplin.
He continues to coach the multi-events competitors and fulfill the duties of head coach. Sloan is well-known internationally in the multi-events circuits because of his 14 years as coach for three-time world decathlon champion, Olympic champion and former world record-holder Dan O’Brien (above/photo by Paul Merca) and his mentoring of Olympic heptathlete Diana Pickler.
"The job of head track and field coach at Washington State or at any Division I school requires a large time commitment. And I have been willing, over the 40 years that I have coached at Washington State to put that time in,” Sloan said.
“I’m very proud of what I have accomplished over that time. I’m proud of the relationships and the work that I’ve done with young people and the direction their lives have taken. I couldn’t have been in a better place to spend those 40 years and for the most part my entire coaching career. I am very thankful to Washington State and the athletic department for giving me the opportunity to experience what I did over that period of time. I have a lot of very, very fond memories of the 40 years and the people that I’ve worked with. I’ll always look back at those with fondness and hopefully that people that I worked with also have those same impressions."
The conference's longest tenured track & field coach, Sloan and the Cougars will host the 2014 Pac-12 track & field championships at Mooberry Track in May.
NOTE: The sports information office at Washington State University contributed to this report.