Tony Salerno begins his ninth season as the Men's Track & Field head coach at UC San Diego in 2008 while also serving as an assistant coach for the women's program in the throwing events. Salerno brings over 20 years of college coaching experience to UC San Diego. Since moving to the NCAA Division II level in 2000, both the men’s and women’s squads have been ranked among the top programs in the nation under his guidance.
Lofty expectations preceded the Tritons entering the 2006 season after such a breakthrough campaign in 2005. Salerno guided his squads to meet, and even exceed those expectations in ’06 as the UCSD women captured their second-straight California Collegiate Athletic Association title while the men moved up one spot to finish second at the ’06 CCAA Championships. For his efforts, Salerno once again was named the CCAA Women’s Track & Field Coach of the Year. He would later lead the women to an 18th place finish at the NCAA National Championships while the men posted a 33rd place finish. The 2006 season produced six All-Americans, four women and two men, the most for UCSD in one year at the NCAA Division II level.
2005 proved to be a banner year for Salerno and his programs as the women won the California Collegiate Athletic Association title for the first time while the men finished third. Salerno was named CCAA Coach of the Year for his efforts. At nationals, both teams had their best showing since the move to Division II as the women finished 14th while the men finished in a tie for 25th. At the meet Salerno, who had already been named NCAA D-II West Region coach of the year, was named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association.
The 2004 Triton squads had their best year to date with top three CCAA Conference Championship finishes for both programs while posting dual meet records of 15-5 for the men and 22-2 for the women. Both the men’s and women’s squad ranked among the top dual meet teams in the nation in 2004 with Triton men finishing 8th and the Triton women finishing 2nd in the Coaches Association National Power Ranking of Division II programs.
A specialist in coaching the throwing events, Salerno has produced 35 NCAA All-Americans as well as four individual NCAA Champions in the throwing events and the decathlon at UC San Diego. Over the span of his 26 years of coaching at the high school, community college, Division I, Division II and Division III levels of track and field he has been responsible for numerous record setters and champions including an Olympian in track and field and a World Champion in Olympic weightlifting.
Salerno began his tenor at UC San Diego in 1988 as an assistant coach before taking on the responsibilities of head coach in 1993 for both the men’s and women’s teams. From 1996 to 1999 Salerno coached on the Division I level at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado before returning to La Jolla in 2000 as part of UC San Diego’s move to the Division II level the following year. Since the move to the NCAA Division II level, UC San Diego athletes have garnered NCAA Division II All-America status 13 times, a remarkable number for the programs first years in Division II. Notably, nine of those thirteen All-Americans were in Salerno’s specialty the throwing events.
Salerno is a native of San Diego. He graduated from Mount Miguel High School then San Diego State University in 1984. In the off-season he pursues his passion of mountain biking in the hills and mountains of San Diego.