Monday, June 18, 2018

Maurica and Andy Powell take their coaching talents up Interstate 5 to the University of Washington...

Maurica Powell (Univ.of Oregon photo)
SEATTLE—After weeks of speculation and talks, both on the message boards and in the background at the NCAA track & field championships two weeks ago in Eugene, University of Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen went straight to the Ducks and hired the husband and wife team of Andy and Maurica Powell from the University of Oregon.

The hire of the Powells is one of Cohen’s most significant hires since becoming the athletic director in spring 2016.

Cohen, who was instrumental as an associate athletic director at Washington in helping hire football coach Chris Petersen after the 2013 season, also was the force behind the release of long-time Husky basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, replacing the UW legend with Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins.

Cohen was also responsible for helping negotiate a multi-year shoe and apparel contract with adidas that goes into effect July 1st, 2019.

According to the Washington release, Maurica will be the program’s first ever director of track & field and cross country, overseeing all facets of the program, while Andy will be the team’s head coach, and focus on daily operations.

The Powells, who were brought to Eugene by then-Oregon head coach Vin Lananna in 2005, were part of 19 NCAA team championships in track and cross country in TrackTown USA. The Massachusetts natives both ran for Lananna at Stanford before they started their coaching careers at Oregon.

Maurica was the 2016 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Division I cross country coach of the year after guiding the Ducks to the national cross country title.

Oregon won the women's triple crown during the 2016-17 academic year, earning national championships in cross country, indoor and outdoor track.

Andy Powell (Univ. of Oregon photo)
Andy’s resume includes earning the USTFCCCA national assistant coach of the year award four times, and coaching 17-time NCAA champ Edward Cheserek, along with Olympians Andrew Wheating and Matthew Centrowitz, as well as Luke Puskedra, Mac Fleet, Elijah Greer, and Eric Jenkins.

Centrowitz praised the couple for their leadership, particularly during his time as an undergraduate at Oregon between 2007-11.

“Andy and Maurica Powell are phenomenal coaches and incredible people," said Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic 1500m gold medalist who ran at Oregon. "They will work tirelessly to foster an exciting culture and develop high level student-athletes at the University of Washington.

"I cannot say enough about the impact they've had on me as an athlete, and as a man. Andy and Maurica both display the highest level of integrity in their relationships with each and every individual they coach, and will expect nothing less from everyone on their team. Andy Powell has been a huge influence in my life since I was 17 years old and the time and attention he paid to me as a college athlete truly shaped my athletic career."

While at Oregon, the Ducks won the USTFCCCA Program of the Year title (given to the program with the highest average finish at the three NCAA meets) nine times on the women's side and five times on the men's side with the Powells on staff.

In welcoming the Powells to Washington, Cohen said, “Their credentials certainly speak for themselves, and what really stood out during the search process was their deep alignment with our departmental values. Maurica and Andy carry a deep passion for developing student-athletes to be their best both in and outside of competition and I am extremely excited for them to lead our program."

In a joint statement, the Powells said, "We're overwhelmed with gratitude to both Jen Cohen and Erin O'Connell for the incredible opportunity to lead the Husky Track & Field and Cross Country Programs.”

"As a world-renowned academic institution with a dynamic athletic department and outstanding facilities, the University of Washington is truly a premier destination for student-athletes across the U.S. and abroad, and we couldn't be more excited to execute a long-term vision for success at UW over the coming years."

"We are thankful to Vin Lananna and the University of Oregon staff for a great thirteen years in Eugene, and we are honored and humbled by the chance to build the next chapter of success on Montlake.”

Among the first orders of business for the Powells will be to hire a set of assistant coaches. It is unknown what direction the Powells will go with the current Husky assistants, which include associate head coach Jason Drake, assistant distance coach Anita Campbell, sprint coach Eric Metcalf, pole vault and jumps coach Pat Licari, and throws coach Jason Schutz, who just guided freshman discus thrower Elijah Mason to a spot on the US under-20 team for next month’s IAAF world under-20 championships in Tampere, Finland.

Andy’s Oregon bio is available here; Maurica’s Oregon bio is available here.

JOSH KERR JOINS BROOKS BEASTS

In what’s been a heavy news day in track and field in the state of Washington, Brooks announced the signing of New Mexico’s Josh Kerr (left/photo by Mike Scott) to a contract to run for the Seattle based Brooks Beasts squad Monday.

Kerr is the collegiate record-holder in the men’s 1500-meter run with his time of 3 minutes, 35.01 seconds, set at the Bryan Clay invitational in April.

Kerr, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, competed at the University of New Mexico where he was a three-time NCAA Division I national champion. He won the indoor 1-mile run in 2017 and 2018. Outdoors, he was the 2017 1,500 champion, and was third at the NCAA championship meet in Eugene two weeks ago.

He joins Western Oregon’s David Ribich, and Furman’s Allie Buchalski, who announced their intent to join the Brooks Beasts on their social media accounts within the last week.

NOTE:  The University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Brooks Running contributed to this report.

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