Track and field head coach Sloan sets 2014 retirement

WSU Coach Rick Sloan
WSU Track and Field Head Coach Rich Sloan

PULLMAN, Wash. – Rick Sloan, the men’s and women’s track and field head coach and the dean of Cougar coaches, has announced he will retire from Washington State University at the end of the 2014 outdoor season.

“This will be my final year as a head coach at Washington State,” Sloan said. “I’m not done coaching as I feel like I still have more coaching in me, but I don’t know what direction that will take me. At this point in time, with my wife Sandy’s illness a couple of years ago, we need to move on with our life and spend some time together.”

Sloan has been with the Cougar track and field program for 40 years, including the last 18 as head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs and one additional year as head coach for the men’s team.

During his tenure as the Cougar track program’s mentor, Sloan has seen the men set 22 school records and the women set 84 school records. He has directed 42 WSU athletes to NCAA outdoor all-American status 76 times and directed 33 athletes to NCAA indoor all-American status 47 times.

“I speak for all Cougars when I thank Rick for four decades of dedicated service to Washington State,” said Bill Moos, WSU director of athletics. “He has served the university well and will be missed by many. I wish him and Sandy nothing but the best.”

When Sloan was named the head track and field coach in June 1994, he had already invested 21 years of service to the program and the university as an assistant coach. Since 1973, he had been an assistant coach, directing WSU athletes in field events, hurdles, sprints and decathlon.

He continues to coach multi-events competitors and fulfill the duties of head coach. Sloan is well known internationally in the multi-events circuits because of his 14 years as coach for four-time world decathlon champion, Olympic champion and former world record-holder Dan O’Brien and because of his mentoring of Olympic heptathlete Diana Pickler.

“The job of head track and field coach at Washington State or at any Division I school requires a large time commitment. And I have been willing, over the 40 years that I have coached at Washington State, to put that time in,” Sloan said.

“I’m very proud of what I have accomplished over that time. I’m proud of the relationships and the work that I’ve done with young people and the direction their lives have taken,” he said.

“I couldn’t have been in a better place to spend those 40 years and for the most part my entire coaching career. I am very thankful to Washington State and the athletic department for giving me the opportunity to experience what I did over that period of time,” he said.

“I have a lot of very, very fond memories of the 40 years and the people that I’ve worked with. I’ll always look back at those with fondness and hopefully that people that I worked with also have those same impressions,” he said.

WSU will host the 2014 Pac-12 track and field championships in May.

“I like the fact that we have the opportunity to show the rest of the conference what we have, who we are and what we’re capable of doing here,” Sloan said. “The last time we hosted, in 2002, we did show them.

“Unfortunately we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed on weather; that’s what people remember the most about their championships meet,” he said. “From a logistical standpoint, the way we will be running the meet, we’ll rival anyone in the conference.”

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