Aug. 18, 2010
TEMPE - On August 18, 2004, Louie Quintana continued his coaching journey with Arizona State University as he was named the head coach of the cross country program following one year each as a graduate assistant and assistant coach with the Sun Devils. Since then, his distance group has continued to develop into one of the top programs, especially the women, who have advanced to the NCAA Cross Country Championships 12 years in a row, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
Starting as a graduate assistant in 2002 and then an assistant coach in 2003, Quintana was tabbed to take over for Walt Drenth when he departed to take over at Michigan State. Having helped Drenth mold the team he inherited, Quintana continued to build the program on both sides and saw that hard work pay off in several ways. As a team, Quintana's women have earned a pair of trophies at the NCAA Cross Country Championships by placing fourth in 2005 and 2007 while his men and women both played roles in helping the track & field team to nine Top 4 finishes at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including NCAA titles by the women (2007 indoor and outdoor and 2008 indoor) and the men (2008 indoor). His women also helped the Sun Devils to three Pac-10 Championships in a row outdoors (2006-08).
Individually, Quintana also has continued to bring in some of the top athletes. On the track, the program had just one distance national title (Alex Henderson, 1959 two-mile run) before Quintana arrived and now has four more crowns, including Kyle Alcorn (2008 indoor 3,000m run and 2008 outdoor 3,000m steeplechase), Amy Hastings (2006 indoor 5,000m run) and Victoria Jackson (2006 outdoor 10,000m run). In his time at ASU, Quintana has worked with 15 student-athletes that have earned 39 All-America honors, including 10 in cross country, 12 on the indoor track and 17 outdoors. Historically, he has coached one of the only two men to earn two cross country All-America honors (Aaron Aguayo, 2004 & 2006); the only woman to earn three cross country All-America honors (Hastings, 2003-05); and the best finish by an individual man at the NCAA Cross Country Championships (Brandon Bethke, 7th in 2009).
Dating back to his first days on campus in 2002, Quintana, the 2006 USTFCCCA National Assistant Track & Field Coach of the Year for women's distances, has worked with athletes that collected 14 Pac-10 titles, including nine in the 3,000m steeplechase. Among those winners was a stretch of four years in a row with a different ASU woman taking the crown and four-consecutive wins by Aaron Aguayo on the men's side, making him the only man to win that race four times in a career and just the second man ever to win the same distance race (over 1,500m) four times in a career, joining Steve Prefontaine on that exclusive list.
One of his athlete's individual wins also is very historic as Hastings captured the Pac-10 Cross Country Championship crown at the 2004 meet in San Francisco, marking the first time in ASU history that a Sun Devil had won the race. Through the 2009 season, Hastings' victory still stands as the only victory of any kind (individual and team included for men and women) in program history.
After their Sun Devil careers, Quintana's individuals also have continued to shine, including the likes of Hastings, Aguayo, Alcorn, Lisa Aguilera, Desiree Davila and Fasil Bizuneh, to name a few. On the world level, all six have represented Team USA at an IAAF event, including Aguayo (2007, Osaka), Aguilera (2005, Helsinki), Alcorn (2009, Berlin) and Davila (2009, Berlin) at the outdoor championships and Davila (2010, Doha) at the indoor championships. Several of those individuals have also competed for Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, including Bizuneh (2007, Mombasa) and Hastings (2010 and 2008). Hastings and Davila also have competed in the championships for the half-marathon and the 20km road race.
Quintana's runners also have been academically sound and have earned numerous awards. His women's cross country team has continually held one of the top grade-point averages on campus and have been honored by the USTFCCCA on several occasions. His runners have collected six USTFCCCA All-Academic honors in cross country and 26 more in track & field while 94 Academic All-Pac-10 honors have been earned in cross country with another 122 in track & field. Both Jenna Kingma (2008) and Bethke (2009) were named the Pac-10 Scholar of the Year for cross country while Jackson was selected as the USTFCCCA Women's Division I Outdoor Scholar of the Year in 2006.
The Sun Devils' seventh season with Quintana serving as head coach will begin on September 4 at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Ariz., as ASU will participate in the George Kyte Invitational, hosted by Northern Arizona.