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Triathlon Head Coach Cliff English Awarded Collegiate Coach of the Year

Mar 14, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Sun Devil Triathlon Head Coach Cliff English has been nominated by USA Triathlon as the College Coach of the Year, the organization announced on Monday afternoon. 

"It's a huge honor to win the Collegiate Coach of the Year Award and to be recognized with this incredibly talented group of coaches," head coach Cliff English said. "It's great to be recognized as a coach for the work we do. Ultimately, if I'm winning awards that means I'm doing my job well and my athletes are developing, growing, learning and racing fast!" 

USA Triathlon recognized seven influential and impactful coaches as 2021 Coaches of the Year, presented by Zone3. The honorees were selected for their contributions during the 2021 triathlon season. The awards for 2021 focused on athlete development, community impact, coaching education, collegiate performance, and achievement during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympics Games. 

Cliff English was one of seven who received Coach of the Year honors across seven categories. Nominations were open to the public, and category winners were determined by a selection panel of coaching and sport education professionals, including the USA Triathlon National Coaching Committee and USA Triathlon education and high performance staff. 

"Every leader should read the nomination letters for these coaches – whether you are a coach who is leading athletes or a business leader at the helm of a company. They are truly leading by example," said Earl Walton, USA Triathlon Director of Education. "Congratulations to these coaches for providing a road map to success and an exciting glimpse of the future of both our sport and USA Triathlon." 

This is English's second year in a row winning the prestigious award.

"Coaching in the NCAA has been some of the most rewarding coaching I've done in my long triathlon coaching career. I'm impressed and humbled by the athletes on my team and on many teams with how well they balance excellence in the classroom and in competition," English stated.

Each year, USA Triathlon recognizes the best in coaching as part of the USA Triathlon Coach of the Year program. The USA Triathlon Coach of the Year Award candidates are selected in 8 prestigious award categories. The following is the criteria for College Coach of the Year: 

  • -Evidence of performance highlights, significant or historic achievements, win-loss record, awards received, etc.
  • -Examples of national achievements by the athletes/teams being coached
  • -Examples of how the coach has positively impacted athletes, colleagues, staff, parents, other coaches
  • -Examples of creativity and innovation in continued support of athletes through the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. significant projects implemented, creative adaptations to coaching, digital transformation, social innovation, entrepreneurship, etc.)
  • adaptations to coaching, digital transformation, social innovation, entrepreneurship, etc.)

The leader of the Sun Devil Triathlon program was a clear choice for the award, fitting the aforementioned description perfectly as one of the most decorated and passionate coaches in the sport.

Under English's watch, Sun Devil Triathlon has been the gold standard nationally, winning five-consecutive Division I National Championships. The Arizona State brand has helped elevate the sport, which is an Emerging NCAA Sport with membership steadily rising since English arrived in Tempe.

During English's six-year tenure, Arizona State has had 19 All-Americans and 24 Scholar All-Americans. He has mentored three-straight Division I Individual National Champions as well as four-straight Division I Freshman of the Year honorees, his most recent is French Canadian Alexe Coursol. Two of English's student-athletes have been selected as NCAA Woman of the Year candidates.

This past season, six women were listed as All-Americans - three first, two second and one honorable mention.

It was recently announced that USA Triathlon has reached participation with 40 collegiate programs across Division I, II and III and the next steps are to approach the NCAA about becoming an official NCAA sponsored sport.

Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA Championship sport by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs by 2024.


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