Jason Drake Joins UW Track & Field Staff

July 21, 2009

SEATTLE - Washington track and field and cross country head coach Greg Metcalf today announced the addition of veteran coach Jason Drake to his staff. Drake served the past seven years as the primary cross country and distance coach at Washington State and will assist in coaching and recruiting distance runners, in addition to numerous other functions designed to continue developing UW track and field as an elite program.

'I am incredibly excited about adding Jason Drake to our coaching staff,' said Metcalf. 'I have had the chance to watch Jason coach and work for almost a decade now. He has coached and recruited at a very high level his entire career at Colorado and Washington State, and those experiences make him a perfect hire for any head coach. I believe he could be a head track coach in the Pac 10 right now.'

Some of the projects Drake will spearhead in addition to regular coaching and recruiting duties include home meet management, implementation of Husky track and field and cross country camps, alumni relations, and fundraising with a goal of obtaining a new outdoor track facility.

'The goal of any head coach is to be surrounded by great people and Jason is a great person,' Metcalf said. 'He is honest, hard-working, passionate, and grounded. I look forward to Jason working with our staff to propel Husky track to greater successes in the very near future. It is my goal that he helps to connect our current student-athletes and staff with all of our alums and supporters of Husky Track and Cross Country.'

Drake spent the past seven years in Pullman, serving as assistant distance coach in charge of the Cougars cross country program the first two seasons before being officially named cross country head coach in 2004. Prior to that Drake began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Colorado, where he was an assistant distance coach from 1995-2002 and also served as recruiting coordinator during the final three years of his stint.

'I am very excited to be joining the Husky Track and Cross Country programs,' said Drake. 'They have had great success recently, and hopefully I can help build on that. My family and I have always loved the city of Seattle, and when Greg approached us about the opportunity to work at the University of Washington we couldn't pass it up. '

Some of Drake's achievements at WSU included leading the men's cross country squad to the NCAA Championships in 2006, its first national meet appearance in eight years and just the second since 1984. Drake mentored Haley Paul to a program-record 14th-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships and All-America honors. Three more Cougars earned All-American honors on the track under Drake, and Sara Trané won consecutive Pac-10 steeplechase titles in 2007 and 2008. He also coached freshman Joe Abbott to the U.S. Junior 800m title last month.

Drake's time at Colorado coincided with one of the most successful runs by any distance program over the past twenty years. The men's team won the NCAA title in 2001, following a runner-up finish in 2000. The Colorado women were team champs in 2000 as well as runners-up in 1995. Both team titles were achieved by athletes recruited and coached in part by Drake under head coach Mark Wetmore. On an individual level, Drake worked with All-Americans Lesley Higgins (second in mile at NCAA Indoor), Steve Slattery (second in steeplechase at NCAA Outdoor), and Sara Gorton (fourth in 5k at NCAA Outdoors).

Born in Aberdeen, S.D., Drake's prep career at Campbell County High School, in Gillette, Wyoming, included seven state titles. He then moved on to Colorado, running middle distance events on the track and for the cross country squad. Drake earned All-America honors as a member of CU's 1994 indoor distance medley relay team and also garnered several Academic All-Big Eight Conference accolades while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental conservation.

In 1999, Drake founded the Colorado Elite Track Club, a nonprofit club for post-collegiate female middle and long distance runners. The club was home for several world-class runners including Shayne Culpepper (2000 Olympic team 1500m and two World Cross Country teams), Janet Trujillo (2002 World Cross Country team and fifth place in 2001 USATF 1500m Outdoor Championships), and Sarah Toland (2002 World Cross Country team).

Drake now rounds out a Husky track staff that includes Pat Licari (pole vault/jumps/multis), Raul Sheen (sprints/hurdles/relays), Kelly Strong (women's distance), and Reedus Thurmond (throws).

Drake and his wife Colleen have a four-year-old daughter Riley and a five-month-old son Benjamin.

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