LA VERNE, Calif. — Pat Widolff, the most successful track and field coach in University of La Verne history, has stepped down after 24 seasons. A tenured faculty member, Widolff will continue to teach in the university's Kinesiology Department.
Head Cross Country Coach and track assistant Bryan George will lead the track and field programs on an interim basis for the 2016-17 season.
"Pat has had a tremendous career as a coach at the University of La Verne," La Verne athletic director Julie Kline said. "He has been a loyal colleague and friend to us. We cannot thank him enough for his service to our young people, to our department and to the university."
Widolff elevated the university's track and field programs to top-flight status at the conference, regional and national levels.
During his tenure as head coach, the University of La Verne crowned seven national champions and the Leopards earned an incredible 70 All-America honors. Prior to Widolff's arrival, the Leopards had a total of six All-America awards. In addition, the University of La Verne captured four SCIAC Championships in women's track and field (1997, 2003, 2005, 2013) and one in men's (2001) while winning many SCIAC individual titles.
Widolff took the helm of the program in 1992 and quickly turned it into a powerhouse. In 1996, the quartet of Jason Neal, Anthony Rice, Anthony Hayes and Liron Wilson claimed the 4x100m relay championship at the 1996 NCAA Division III National Championships. Rice collected two more All-America awards in the 100 meters and the 200 meters that year. On the women's side, Jacqui Zwissler earned All-America status in the triple jump that year.
The women stole the headlines in 1997. Stacey Williams won the long jump at the 1997 national championships for the University of La Verne's first title since 1990 and Zwissler added an All-America trophy in the javelin. Neal, Rice and Wilson returned to nationals in 1997 and earned All-America status in the 4x100m relay, along with J. Anthony Rudolph.
The next national championship came in 2003 when Brandon Tedrow won the javelin. Paul Turner claimed the long jump at the 2011 national championships and went on to earn six All-America awards in his career.
In 2014, Chancise Watkins and Lenore Moreno produced a pair of all-time seasons for the men's and women's teams. Moreno became the first University of La Verne athlete to win an indoor national championship when she won the 5,000 meters at the 2014 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships with the third fastest time in history at that time. Moreno went on to win the 10,000 meters at the outdoor championships that May. Watkins earned All-America status in the indoor 200m and used it as a springboard to post one of the greatest individual seasons in University of La Verne history. He went on to win the national championship in the 4x100m relay and earned All-America honors in the 200m and the 400m while breaking the SCIAC record in the 200m. Both Watkins and Moreno were named the 2014 West Region Track Athletes of the Year by the USTFCCCA.
Individual National Champions under Widolff
1996: Jason Neal, Anthony Hayes, Anthony Rice, Liron Wilson (4 x 100 Meter Relay)
2003: Brandon Tedrow (Javelin)
2011: Paul Turner (Long Jump)
2014: Nick Gonsalves, James Francis, Robert Oshodin, Chancise Watkins (4 x 100 Meter Relay)
1997: Stacey Williams (Long Jump)
2014: Lenore Moreno (5,000m - Indoor)
2014: Lenore Moreno (10,000m)
SCIAC Championships under Widolff
1997, 2003, 2005, 2013
All-Americans under Widolff
|J. Anthony Rudolph|