Darcy Ahner is in her sixth season as head coach of the UC San Diego women's track and field program in 2012-13, having guided the Triton women to unprecedented levels of success in her five years at the helm.
The Triton women have placed in the top five in the NCAA Championships three out of the last six years. 2009 proved to be a banner year for UCSD on the women's side as Ahner led the Tritons to several meet victories, including a fifth consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association title. Two Tritons went on to win individual national titles in her events, paving the way for an unprecedented third place team finish at the NCAA Championships and a final ranking of No. 2 in the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association National Power Rankings.
Ahner, who also serves as an assistant with the men's program, brings 22 years of college coaching experience to UCSD, including 13 seasons on the La Jolla campus. She served as associate head coach for both the men's and women's teams in 2006 and 2007 and was an assistant coach for both squads from 2000-05. Known as one of the nation's most talented and versatile collegiate track and field coaches, Ahner's successes have spanned all three NCAA Divisions.
Ahner joined the staff at UC San Diego in 2000 after nine years as an assistant coach at the Division I level. She spent seven seasons at her alma mater, the University of New Mexico, coaching the jumps and multi-events. While at New Mexico, Ahner's athletes dominated the high jump in the Western Athletic Conference, as four different athletes won four consecutive WAC Championships. Seven athletes achieved individual WAC titles in seven years and four broke school records. During her tenure, seven athletes qualified for the D-I National Championships, producing one All-American.
After her stint at the University of New Mexico, Ahner spent two seasons coaching jumps, hurdles and multi-events at Northern Arizona University, where four of her athletes were NCAA Division I qualifiers, including an All-American in the heptathlon. Five athletes achieved Big Sky Conference individual titles, while three set new school records.
Ahner's first 13 years at UCSD have seen her athletes rewrite the Triton record books in the men's and women's jumps, hurdles and multi-events as 10 out of the 12 records have been set by athletes during her coaching tenure. Her athletes have won a remarkable 45 CCAA individual conference titles and 25 have earned All-American honors. Under Ahner's guidance, Tritons have won four individual NCAA National Championships, and three were second place runners up, including Champions, Whitney Johnson in 2008 (triple jump), Christine Merrill in 2009 (400 hurdles) and Linda Rainwater in 2008 (heptathlon) and 2009 (high jump). Ahner has been selected as both the CCAA Coach of the Year and the NCAA West Region Women's Coach of the Year twice and the Tritons were named a USTFCCCA Academic All-American Team in 2009-2012.
A Level II USA Track and Field certified coach, Ahner is also a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and serves as the strength and conditioning coach for the Triton track and field program. She was a coach for the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Team in Beijing, coaching two athletes to gold medals and new world records in the high jump and the pentathlon, while three others claimed silver medals.
As an athlete, Ahner competed in the heptathlon while at New Mexico, setting school records in the high jump, javelin and heptathlon. She was honored as the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Athlete in 1989 and was the conference heptathlon champion in 1988 and 1989. Ahner was a three-time NCAA Division I Championships qualifier, as well as a World Championships trials competitor in 1990. She graduated from New Mexico in 1990 with a degree in psychology and education.