Aug. 18, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. - Louie Quintana has been hired as the head coach of the Arizona State cross country program, Greg Kraft, Director of Track and Field at ASU, announced Wednesday. Charged with guiding the cross country program as well as the distance corps on the track, Quintana replaces Walt Drenth who was hired August 3 at Michigan State after eight years with the Sun Devils.
"It's an exciting opportunity and it is a dream come true for me," Quintana said. "If I took a job anywhere in the country, Arizona State is the place I would want to be. If I was coaching back east, I would be longing to get back to ASU. I know this program has had success and I want to see if I can help it climb over the last rock to be a Top 10 team on the men's side and a trophy team on the women's side. I am looking forward to working with everyone and moving the program forward."
Quintana is an established runner, winning the FootLocker national race as a high school athlete before earning All-America honors while starring at Villanova. The 1993 Penn Relays Male Outstanding Performer, Quintana captured nine All-America certificates prior to his graduation from VU in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in history.
"Louie brings so many things to the table, but I think he really brings a shot of energy to the program," Kraft said. "Change is going to be tough with the team because we've had success. Coach Drenth had a certain way and certain phrases that he would use that they would trust. Coach Quintana now has to establish that trust on his own with the student-athletes and that takes time. But that also takes time with success. I feel really good about Coach Quintana taking the reigns of the program and look forward to seeing how our distance runners progress under his leadership."
Quintana has been a member of the ASU coaching staff for the past two years, first joining the program as its graduate assistant in 2002 before taking over assistant coaching duties last year. As part of his assistant duties, he served as the recruiting coordinator for the track and field and cross country teams while also helping to mold some of the current stars on the team: Amy Hastings, Desiree Davila, Aaron Aguayo and Juan Reyes. With his help, Hastings won the 2004 Pac-10 Championship in the 3,000m steeplechase as a freshman, keeping the title in Tempe for the fourth year in a row in only the fourth contested race. Aguayo won the men's steeplechase to give the Sun Devils a sweep in the event before also winning the regional race as a freshman this year.
Jeremy Rasmussen, a former student-athlete with the Sun Devils, also was added to the staff as the graduate assistant and will assist Quintana with the distance runners. The Pac-10 Conference champion in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2000 meet, Rasmussen also placed second in the 2001 and 2002 meets in the same event to help the men break the 100-point barrier all three years, and the first time in school history. Following a successful career with both the cross country and track and field programs, the Minnesota native and graduate of Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Ariz., served as a volunteer coach during the 2003 cross country season and 2004 indoor and outdoor track and field seasons before taking the graduate position. Rasmussen, who recently attained his USA Track and Field Level 1 coaching certification, earned his bachelor's degree for ASU in computer information systems in 2003.
The Sun Devils will open their season Sept. 10 when they travel to Tucson to take part in the Dave Murray Invitational, hosted by Arizona. The women will contest a 4.3K race starting 5:15 p.m. with the men's 6.3K race following at 5:45 p.m. Both races will be contested on the Dell Urich Golf Course.