Tony Salerno begins his 14th season as the head coach of the men's track and field program at UC San Diego, while also serving as an assistant coach for the women's program in the throwing events. Salerno served as head coach for both the men's and women's squads for 12 years prior.
Salerno brings over 30 years of college coaching experience to UCSD. Since moving to the NCAA Division II level in 2001, both the men's and women's squads have been ranked among the top programs in the nation under his guidance.
UCSD athletes have earned a remarkable 61 NCAA Division II All-American honors during his tenure as head coach. Since Salerno arrived on the La Jolla Campus, the evolution of both the men's and women's teams at the Division II level has been nothing short of dramatic, with the men registering second place finishes at the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championships in 2006, 2009 and again in 2010. The men's program has consistently ranked among the top 25 programs in the nation in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Power Rankings and was named a USTFCCCA Academic All-American Team last season.
Salerno's final season as head coach of the women's program in 2007 proved to be a banner year for the Tritons as they claimed their third straight CCAA Championship. The season was capped by an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, which was the program's highest national championship placing since moving to the Division II level at the time. The Triton women ranked either first or second in the USTFCCAA National Power rankings every year from 2003 to 2009.
The successes of the Triton track and field programs have not gone unnoticed by his coaching peers. Salerno was voted the CCAA Women's Coach of the Year in 2005, 2006 and 2007, as well the West Region Coach of the Year in 1993, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He was voted National Coach of the Year in 2005.
A specialist in coaching the throwing events, Salerno has produced 43 NCAA All-Americans, as well as seven individual NCAA Champions in throws and the decathlon during his time at UCSD. In 2009, junior Danielle Thu won the national title in the hammer throw with a toss of 198'8" -- a mark that ranks fifth all-time in Division II -- and sophomore Nick Howe won the national championship in both 2010 and 2011. Over the span of his 34 years of coaching at the high school, community college, Division I, II and III levels, Salerno has produced numerous record setters and champions.
Salerno began his tenure at UCSD in 1988 as an assistant coach before taking on head coaching responsibilities for both the men's and women's teams in 1993. From 1996 to 1999, Salerno coached at the Division I level at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., before returning to La Jolla in 2000 as part of UCSD's move to the Division II level the following year.
Since December of 2008, Salerno has served as the president of the Cal-Nevada Coaches Association. UCSD will host the 2013 Cal-Nevada Collegiate Championships on March 29-30. It will be the 20th running of the prestigious meet.
A San Diego native, Salerno graduated from Mount Miguel High School and then earned his B.A. in kinesiology from San Diego State University in 1984.