LA JOLLA, Calif. – UC San Diego Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards announced Tuesday afternoon that Nate Garcia has been hired as the new men’s and women’s cross country head coach for the 2007 season. He replaces Ted Van Arsdale who announced his retirement from coaching earlier this morning after spending the last 15 years as the head coach of the Triton cross country programs.
“We have very mixed emotions about today’s moves within our cross country program,” said Edwards. “On the one hand, we are very sad to lose such a valued head coach who led us to national prominence. On the other hand, we are very happy that he will be able to spend more time with his wife and family while also leaving the program in the very capable hands of a former student-athlete and assistant coach that had him as a mentor.”
Garcia assumes the helm of the program for which he has been associated with for 10 seasons, the first five of which were as a student-athlete. The last five years have been spent as an assistant coach with both the cross country and track & field programs at UCSD.
“I am excited and honored to be named the head coach at my alma mater,” said Garcia. “I feel privileged to have spent the last 10 years running for and working with Coach Van Arsdale. I am looking forward to continuing the great tradition of excellence he helped to establish here at UC San Diego.”
A four-year athlete in both track and cross country while attending UCSD from 1996 to 2000, Garcia earned numerous athletic and academic honors, including earning All-Academic District VIII and CCAA Scholar-Athlete honors as a senior in 2000-01. He has assisted with all aspects of the cross country program, including recruiting and scheduling, during his five years as an assistant coach.
Garcia assumes the reins of a program that Van Arsdale established as a perennial powerhouse at both the D-II and D-III levels in his 15 years at the helm. During his tenure he had several squads finish in the top-10 in the nation, including the 2005 women’s team that finished second at the NCAA D-II West Regional and posted a seventh place national finish.
“My time here at UC San Diego has been magnificent,” said Van Arsdale. “The last 41 years of my life have included competitive running in one fashion or another, and it has been a great journey. I am really looking forward to spending more time with my wife and family and will rest easier knowing that the cross country programs at this world class institution are in the hands of a talented young coach and a good friend.”
Prior to his retirement, Van Arsdale had been honored by his coaching peers on several occasions, winning nine Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year awards along with two CCAA Coach of the Year awards, the most recent of which came in 2005. Additionally he has produced three individual NCAA Champions (JJ Castner - 5k - 1995, James Nielsen - 5k – 1999 & 2000) and 26 All-Americans (eight in cross country and 18 in track & field).
Van Arsdale has been involved with UCSD since 1989, when he took over Masters running, a high-performance running program that puts out many national contenders and is considered to be one of the best adult competitive teams in California.
The Triton cross country teams will begin their 2007 campaign very shortly as both squads begin training next week in anticipation of their first dual meet at home on Saturday, August 25th, against Point Loma Nazarene. Following that, the programs will take part in the UC Irvine Invitational on Saturday, September 8th.