Men's Track Staff Adds Matt Casillas as Volunteer Throws Coach

Jan. 11, 2001

EUGENE - The University of Oregon men's track and field team announced the addition of another coach to its fold this winter, volunteer coach Matt Casillas.

The former University of Northern Iowa thrower follows his former coach, Bill Lawson, to Eugene, and will supervise the team's shot put, hammer and 35-lb. weight throwers - three events he specialized in at Northern Iowa from 1992-96.

'This a great opportunity to work with the University of Oregon under the direction of a great staff,' Casillas said. 'Coach Lawson was an excellent collegiate coach for me, so I'm excited to work under him and learn more from him from a coaching standpoint. I think a lot of it had to do with the work ethic I had under him, and I'd like to get the same out of these guys.'

The Davenport, Iowa native still ranks first on the UNI indoor list in the weigh throw (67-7, 1996) and fifth in the shot put (55-10 1/2, 1996), and on their outdoor list ranks second in the hammer (195-7, 1996) and shot put (fifth, 54-11 1/2, 1995).

At the conference level, he won two titles as a senior in 1996 (indoor shot put - 55-10 1/2, weight throw - 67-1 1/4) and took second and third in the shot put (54-8 1/4) and hammer (195-7), respectively, that same year. He also took third in the indoor weight throw as a sophomore. At the prep level he was a second-place finisher at the Drake Relays and in his class at the Iowa state meet.

'Former teammates of mine have told me about Oregon and the great track following,' Casillas said, 'and that's very exciting. The throwers already here are all very coachable and talented, and we'd like to see big things from them. Many have been in the developmental stages going from high school to college implements, and I think this year they should make a big step - it's a very talented group.'

Casillas will balance his coaching duties while starting his own American Family Insurance agency in Eugene. After graduation he worked as an agent for State Farm Insurance from 1996-2000 in Bloomington, Ill., and also served as a volunteer assistant throws coach at Illinois State part of 1998.

The 27-year-old was born in Moline, Ill., graduated from Davenport North (Iowa) High School in 1991, then UNI in 1996 with a BA degree in public relations. He is engaged to Rebecca Shearer.

Other members of the coaching staff include Martin Smith (distances, third year), Tony Veney (sprints/hurdles/relays, third year), Bill Lawson (field events, second year), Dan Steele (hurdles/javelin, first year), Steve Fein (cross country, first year) and Danny Lopez (operations, third year).

The Duck men open their indoor season this weekend at the Iowa State Open in Ames, Iowa (Fri.-Sat., 1/19-20) at Iowa State University and at the Northwest Open (Sat., 1/20) in St. Paul, Minn., at the University of Minnesota.

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