Appeal Staff Report
Kevin Reid continued to build his legacy as the Azusa Pacific (Calif.) men's track coach, leading his team to the NAIA Outdoor national title on Saturday.
Reid, a 1983 Carson High graduate, led his team to a double as earlier this year he also led his squad to the NAIA Indoor title. For his efforts, Reid was named the NAIA Coach of the Year at the Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
It was only the second time in history that Azusa Pacific won the outdoor and indoor national titles in the same year and both times came under Reid's leadership. Reid was also the head coach when the Cougars won the indoor and outdoor national titles in 2002.
Azusa Pacific had won five indoor national titles since 2002, but this is the first outdoor national title the Cougars have won since 2002. Led by hurdler Matt Sparks, distance runner Aron Rono and multi-events athlete David Pichler, the Cougars were able to take the title.
The Cougars finished with 61 points to edge second place Dickinson State (North Dakota) for the title on Saturday at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Sparks and Pichler went retro for extra motivation for the meet, breaking out uniforms from the 1980s when Azusa Pacific was the NAIA's dominant program.
"We've established our reputation through the outdoor championships but we've only been winning indoor titles lately," Reid said, "so Sparks and Pichler wanted to reach back to that era, maybe pump up the guys with something different."
Rono, a Kenyan native, became the first athlete ever to win the 1500-, 5000-, and 10,000-meter runs in a national championship meet,
"He is a special athlete, and this is an unbelievable triple," said Reid. "While he was pursuing individual history, he also needed to win the 5000 for us to win the team title."
Azusa Pacific was able to rally for the title after a slow start on Friday as Monti Sutton began Saturday with a key effort in the triple jump where he finished third at 48 feet, 4 1/2 inches.
"We took some hits here and there yesterday, but Monti made up for it in a huge way in the triple jump," said Reid. "We were down last night, but talk about about a momentum swing. Like our women last year when they won the national championship, Monti got us on a roll and it kept going and suddenly tired legs get picked up by emotion.
"It was a steady effort all the way around. Other than Aron's triple, we didn't do anything spectacular but we did what we were supposed to."
The indoor championship went down to the wire for the Cougars as they edged secod place Oklahoma Baptist 64 1/2-64 in the meet held at Johnson City, Tenn.
Reid has won more national titles than any other active NAIA coach. He has just completed his 13th season as Azusa Pacific's head coach and has now won nine national titles (six indoor, three outdoor). Reid has also been named NAIA Coach of the Year a total of nine times.
In addition, Reid has coached one of the world's top decathletes, Bryan Clay, at Azusa Pacific. Clay has won the Olympic silver medal and a World Championship and will be a leading contender to take gold at this summer's Olympics.