Light Added to Track and Field Staff
Sept. 6, 2005
Light, a native of Lamar, Colo., will be coaching the men's and women pole vault and the men's and women's horizontal jumps (long and triple).
Light comes to Lubbock after serving as an assistant coach with the Oregon Ducks for two seasons.
A highly-regarded coach at the collegiate, U.S. and international levels for three decades, he helped the Duck women jumpstart their transition process in 2004. In the 2005 season, the men's squad was crowned PAC-10 Champions and the team finished second overall at the West Regional Meet and ninth at the outdoor national meet. The men's duck squad also finished sixth as a team at the indoor national meet.
Light was named the 2005 PAC 10 Men's Co-Coach of the Year as he coached student-athletes to 7 new school records. He coached 2 NCAA All-Americans, co-coached one NCAA National Champion, instructed 13 top five all-time indoor performances and 17 top 10 all-time outdoor performances.
His individual coaching highlights include coaching four NCAA Champions (men's and women's High Jump, Heptathlon, Decathlon), 15 NCAA All-Americans and 13 SEC Champions.
During the 2004 Duck campaign, Abby Andrus made NCAA outdoor and indoor appearances in the heptathlon and pentathlon, and Sofie Abildtrup earned an at-large invite in the 400. His unit's finest performance undoubtedly came in the Pac-10 Championships as seven of his eight entries either equaled or bettered their pre-meet rankings, and helped the team rack up 58 points - nearly double their projected total. At season's end, six UO women improved their standings on the school all-time lists in seven of the nine individual events he oversaw - 100 (Abildtrup, 10th, 12.01), 200 (Abildtrup, seventh, 23.93), 400 (Abildtrup, third, 52.92), High Jump (Rachael Kriz, eighth, 5-8), 400 Hurdles (Andrus, fifth, 59.29; Kayla Mellott, seventh, 60.72), Triple Jump (Clarice Hayward-Lee, fifth, 40-8 3/4; Maegan Traver, 10th, 39-7), Heptathlon (Andrus, fifth, 5,325).
Prior to his arrival in Eugene, Light was better known for the success at Louisiana State as the team's recruiting coordinator and mentor for their heralded M&W multi-event, high jump and men's hurdle student-athletes. As an assistant coach for six seasons from August 1989 through August 1995, his athletes claimed four NCAA titles (men's and women's high jump, heptathlon and decathlon), 15 All-America performances, 13 Southeastern Conference titles and 12 school records. Indoors and outdoors during that run, the LSU men and women combined for 11 NCAA team titles, eight SEC titles and 19 top-10 NCAA team finishes. In that stretch, he also coached post-collegian Charles Austin, 1996 Olympic gold medalist, 1991 World Championships gold medalist and Olympic record holder (7-10).
In his previous coaching position, he served as men's and women's head track and field and cross country coach at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos (1/83-7/89). He guided SWTSU to a pair of Southland Conference titles (and six runner-up finishes) to go along with five Gulf Star Conference crowns. Individually, his athletes won seven combined league titles and 21 All-America honors. In return, he was named 1989 NCAA District VI Coach of the Year, and overall was a seven-time Southland and Gulf Star Conference Coach of the Year honoree.
Light began his coaching career as women's track and field and cross country head coach at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo., for two seasons (8/80-8/82). He was honored as NAIA National Coach of the Year following his team's NAIA cross country win in 1981 (and then-meet record low 25 points), and outdoor national runner-up finish in 1982. Individually, his athletes claimed four individual TF/XC crowns, two NAIA national records and 15 All-America plaques.
In between his LSU and Oregon stints, he worked as a financial advisor in Baton Rouge, La., from 1995-2003, and also served as a USA Track and Field lead instructor for coaches education since 1991. He has instructed coaches in Level II jumps and combined events, and assisted in developing the course curriculum for both Level II programs.
As a student-athlete, he was a two-time All-America sprinter at Adams State, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in health, physical education and recreation in 1979, and added a master's degree in exercise physiology in 1980.
"I'm so excited to bring Coach Light on board," said Kittley. "He's a great addition to our staff and we are so lucky to have someone with his knowledge and experience."
2005-2006 Track and Field Coaching Staff
Wes Kittley - Head Coach
Diane Wholey - Associate Head Coach
Cliff Felkins - Asst. Coach/Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
Rock Light - Asst. Coach
Jon Murray - Asst. Coach
Steve Silvey - Asst. Coach
Jason Young - Asst. Strength Coach
Nixon Dorvilien - Athletic Trainer
Joe Walker - Director of Operations