Nathan Garcia enters his ninth season as head coach of the UC San Diego men’s and women’s cross country program in 2015. In eight years at the helm, Garcia has guided the Tritons to three NCAA Championship appearances, while also coaching several All-CCAA and All-West Region selections.
Last year, in 2014, Garcia guided the women's team to a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The Triton women qualified for the national meet with a fourth place finish at the NCAA West Regionals, finishing ahead of three-ranked teams in No. 18 Western Washington, No. 23 Cal Poly Pomona and No. 25 California Baptist. The men's squad finished seventh in the west region. Tanner Collins and Paige Hughes earned All-West Region after they finished 14th and 16th, respectively, in the region. Both UCSD men and women finished fourth at the CCAA meet, with Hughes and Corinne Hinkle earning all-conference honors.
Garcia took over head coaching duties for both programs in 2007 after the resignation of longtime coach and mentor Ted Van Arsdale. He served as an assistant under Van Arsdale for five seasons prior to his appointment to the top spot. In addition to leading the cross country teams, Garcia also coaches distance events for the UCSD track and field teams.
In his first season as head coach, Garcia guided both the men and women’s teams to the 2007 NCAA Division II National Championships, marking just the second time UCSD has accomplished that feat at the D-II level. The women’s team finished 11th at the championships, moving up five places from their 16th place finish in 2006, while the men finished in the 20th spot, which was their highest finish since 2003.
Garcia led the women’s team to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA West Regionals, while the men came in seventh in 2008. Redshirt freshman Bre Schofield advanced to the D-II National Championships in Slippery Rock, Pa., finishing 22nd overall, which was UCSD’s best individual finish since 2002. Schofield took home USTFCCCA All-American honors for her performance.
Following another strong campaign in 2009, the Tritons posted a combined 11 top-five team finishes in 2010, highlighted by the men's victory at the Bronco Preview Meet in Whittier in October. The Triton men went on to finish third at the CCAA Championships on the same course two weeks later, while the women recorded a fifth-place showing at the conference meet. UCSD's men would then finish eighth at the NCAA West Regional Championships in Bellingham, Wash., with the women claiming 14th place.
In 2012, Garcia guided both the men and women to national rankings, peaking at No. 28 and No. 30, respectively. At the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships in Kahuku, Hawaii, the Triton men took 10th while the women finished 12th overall. After the season concluded, both squads were named to the 2012 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II All-Academic Teams, and juniors Kellen Levy and Chia Chang each earned individual USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors for the second year in a row. Levy additionally was selected to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District® Men’s Track/Cross Country First Team for the NCAA Division II District 8, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
In 2013, Garcia coached the men's team to a sixth place finish, while the women finished 11th, at the NCAA West Regionals. Tareq Alwafai and Tanner Collins on the men's side and Marie Diaz and Paige Hughes from the women were named to the All-West Region team. Alwafai went onto race at the NCAA National Championship and finished in 100th place. Also, Kellen Levy and Matt Lenehan were named All-conference.
Garcia was a four-year letterwinner in both cross country and track at UCSD from 1996 to 2000. During his time as a Triton, he earned numerous athletic and academic honors, including Verizon All-Academic District VIII and CCAA Scholar-Athlete honors in 2000-01. He was also honored by UCSD on National Student-Athlete Day that same year.
Garcia earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from UCSD in 2000, graduating cum laude. He then completed a multi-subject professional clear CLAD credential at UCSD in 2001.