In what may or may not be a strategic move for the long term health of the program, Cal Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Tony Sandoval announced on Monday that he will retire at the end of the Outdoor Track and Field Season this spring.
It’s been an honor and pleasure to coach and mentor at the University of California, Berkeley,” Sandoval said. “I have proudly watched young athletes persevere through adversity to become fine men and women who graduate and begin successful careers. I’m thankful for the outstanding friendship and professionalism from some truly outstanding administrators, staff, and track & field assistant coaches, both as a head coach and as a fellow assistant. I’m humbled to be connected with a university and athletic department with such rich and storied history of excellence and diversity. Just as I knew when it was time to hang up my spikes as a collegiate runner, I know it is now time to give up my stopwatch and pass the baton onto someone else to serve this great university. Go Bears!
The long time coach has spent 37 years on the Cal campus and coached numerous elite Cal athletes, including Cal Athletics Hall of Famers and numerous “Calympians” such as Alysia (Johnson) Montano and the late David Torrence.
Sandoval came to Cal in 1982 as the head coach of the women’s team before the men’s and women’s team were combined together. From 1992 to 2007, he was the “associate director of track and field” before being elevated to “director of track and field”. He specializes on training Cal’s mid to long distance runners from 800m to 10,000m.
What is perhaps interesting about this timing is that Cal Track and Field may be in for a battle to survive long term. While Cal administration have said repeatedly that cutting any sports, which will irreparably damage certain alumni base, is only the last resort, Cal Track and Field is potentially on the block given both the size of the team and the impending campus takeover of Edwards Stadium from Cal Athletics as a part of the whole Memorial Stadium retrofitting cost fiasco. If/when campus go ahead and use the current land of Edwards Stadium as new dorm, Cal Track and Field (as well as soccer) will be without a home.
Cal Track and Field may need a younger head coach to fight this impending change. Sandoval stepping down at the end of this season rather than the next may have changed the fate of the program.
In the press release, Cal has stated that they will begin a nationwide search later this spring. You have to believe that Cal AD Jim Knowlton will find a new head coach in good faith as if the program (both men and women, including also cross country) will continue to exist for years to come (rather than a partial downsize like if Cal loses the men’s program).
Of course, that’s all just speculation from this blogger.
In the meantime, we would like to thank Tony Sandoval for his long tenure for Cal Track and Field and may he goes out with a very successful outdoor season.
THANK YOU TONY AND GO BEARS!