Rhonda Riley returns for her second season with the Arizona State University cross country and track & field programs and her first season as its director of operations after serving one year as a graduate assistant coach. In her new role, Riley will manage the daily operations of the program and its administrative duties while also assisting the staff with various projects, such as alumni relations.
Riley, who came to Tempe from Pac-10 Conference rival Oregon State where she completed her undergraduate degree and served one year as a volunteer assistant coach, had a hand in one of the most successful seasons in Sun Devil history. The distance runners played an integral part in ASU becoming just the second women's program all-time to earn a `triple crown' by finishing fourth or better in the national cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field meets in the same academic year. The harriers finished fourth before the indoor team placed third. The women closed the season by placing fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships following the program's first Pac-10 Championship team crown.
During her year as a graduate assistant coach, Riley trained with several runners that posted impressive campaigns, including Amy Hastings, who earned her third All-America honor in cross country before winning the NCAA Indoor 5,000m national title. She also worked with NCAA Outdoor National 10,000m Champion Victoria Jackson and Pac-10 3,000m Steeplechase Champion Brooke Bennett among others.
Riley's first coaching position in the collegiate ranks was very eventful as she assisted Head Coach Kelly Sullivan in mentoring the first Beaver cross country and track and field teams since the University dropped the sports following the 1987-88 academic year. In the cross country program's first year back, OSU placed 10th at the Pac-10 Championships and 16th in the 28-team field at the NCAA West Region meet.
Prior to serving as a volunteer assistant with the Beavers, Riley spent two years coaching both cross country and track and field at Corvallis High School. An active runner herself, Riley competed in four marathons during her time as a student and as a coach, including the 2003 Portland Marathon where she was the ninth female finisher.
A native of Portland, Ore., Riley attained her bachelor's degree in early childhood education from OSU in 2004 and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Higher Education from ASU.