Chris Huffins Named Director of Track & Field
Oct. 16, 2002
Berkeley - Chris Huffins, former NCAA decathlon champion at the University of California and current assistant track & field coach at Georgia Tech, will return to Berkeley as the school's new director of track and field and cross country, Cal Athletic Director Steve Gladstone announced today.
Huffins, a two-time U.S. Olympic decathlete who won the bronze medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, becomes the seventh head track and field coach in California history. He replaces Erv Hunt, who recently assumed a new executive administrative role in the Golden Bears' athletic department after directing Cal's track and field program for 30 years.
The 32-year-old Huffins will direct both the men's and women's track & field and cross country programs, assisted by a returning coaching staff that includes Tony Sandoval (associate director of track and field), Ed Miller (field events), Randy Ziraldo (throws), Robyne Johnson (jumps/sprints) and Joy Margerum (sprints/hurdles).
'As we proceeded through a nationwide interview process for Erv's successor, it became more and more evident that Chris Huffins was the ideal choice to lead Cal track and field into a new era,' said Gladstone. 'His character as a person, his successful experience as both a world-class athlete and college coach, and his stature in the track and field community all led us to the same conclusion-that Chris was the right person to take over the reins of our storied track program.'
Huffins has served as a major college assistant coach for the past five years. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native spent three seasons at Wake Forest as the Demon Deacons' sprint coach from 1997-99, before joining the Georgia Tech staff in 2000, working primarily with the Yellow Jackets' multi-event, short sprinters, throws and pole vault performers the past two years.
'This is a dream come true for me,' said Huffins. 'My heart has never left Berkeley, and I look forward to building upon what Coach Hunt has achieved here at Cal and help return the track and field program to national prominence. I am also thrilled to come back and have the opportunity to complete my Cal degree, which is important to me and the university, and also sets a good example for my student-athletes.'
Ranked among the world's Top 10 decathletes for seven consecutive years, Huffins majored in political economy of industrial societies at Cal from 1990-93 before leaving to train for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He is less than one year of class credits shy of earning his bachelor of science degree.
Huffins began his collegiate career at Purdue in 1988, but transferred to California two years later, soon blossoming into a national figure in the decathlon. As a Golden Bear, he first won the triple jump competition at the 1991 Pac-10 Championships, then captured both the Pac-10 and NCAA decathlon titles in 1993.
While coaching at Wake Forest, Huffins continued to compete in the decathlon at the highest level. He won the U.S. National Championship in both 1998 and 1999, and finished second at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials. In the '98 U.S. Championships, Huffins posted the then-highest decathlon score in the world. Later that year, he held the lead at the Goodwill Games in New York City after the first day of competition, eventually winning the silver medal, in finishing behind Dan O'Brien.
Huffins, a member of the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic teams, is a former world record holder in the decathlon 100 meters. He also earned a gold medal in setting the meet record at the 1999 Pan American Games.
During his five years of coaching, Huffins has developed numerous school record holders, All-Atlantic Coast Conference performers and All-Americans at both Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. As one of the current leaders of the sport, he serves as assistant coach for the World Junior Championship team, as chairman of the men's combined events for USA Track & Field, and as a member of the USATF board of directors.
Huffins, who has a wife (Monique) and three-year-old son (Zachary), inherits a men's Cal track and field program that has registered a .665 all-time winning percentage (487-245-1) in dual meets and produced numerous Olympians, world record-holders and NCAA champions during its 101-year history, and a women's program that has posted a .619 winning percentage (124-76-1) during its 28-season existence.
Listed below are previous head coaches in Cal history:
Men's Coaches Women's Coaches
Walter Christie (1901-1932) Kathy Sackman (1974) Brutus Hamilton (1933-65) June Scopinich (1975) Al Ragan (1943-45) Pat Stocking (1976-77) Sam Bell (1966-69) Marilyn King (1978-80) Dave Maggard (1970-72) Vern Gambetta (1981-82) Erv Hunt (1973-2002) Tony Sandoval (1983-91) Erv Hunt (1992-2002)