Mike Maynard, the former director of track and field at Boise State, returns to the Pac-10 to fill the position voided by Art Venegas.

The Azusa Pacific University alumnus is thrilled to be back in Southern California after spending nine years in Idaho.

“It was really an exciting time for my family and myself,” Maynard said. “It was something we were hoping we would get an opportunity to do. I was honored to say the least.”

Maynard maintains an impressive coaching record, as he spearheaded the rescue effort of the Boise State track program. He assumed the track director position of a program that he labeled as “dismally failing,” and turned it into the best Bronco program ever.

“At Boise State we’ve actually performed at a high level,” Maynard said. “We have gone head-to-head with the Pac-10 in weekly meets and we’ve held our own.”

During his tenure at Boise State, more than 50 school records were set and 30 All-American honors were earned. In 2004 and 2005, javelin thrower Gabe Wallin won the national title and just last year, Eleni Kafourou won the national indoor long jump title. Wallin was the first Boise State athlete to win two national titles, and Kafourou became the first woman in a Bronco uniform to claim a national title.

Boise State won six Western Athletic Conference championships since Maynard took over and earned four straight top-25 finishes on the men’s side at the NCAA outdoor meet.

Before taking the helm at Boise State, Maynard served as the associate track and field head coach at Arizona for 13 years, where he led the Wildcats to three individual titles and coached 32 All-Americans.

Now at UCLA, Maynard will serve as head coach of the men’s track and field program and serve as an assistant for the women’s program. He will take over for volunteer throws coach Jessica Cosby, who coached the throwers last season.

“Since I’m really an assistant on the women’s side, it has a certain freeing aspect to it,” Maynard said. “My help to the women’s program is subject to (head coach Jeanette Bolden’s) discretion. I’m a team player and I want to do this right.”

One goal Maynard wants to set from the beginning is building camaraderie within his team.

“I want to bring this team together,” Maynard said. “I think that’s the springboard to future success.”

He will inherit a Bruin men’s squad that finished fifth at last season’s Pac-10 meet, seventh at the regional meet and did not score a point at the national meet.

“This program has talented athletes and great coaches,” Maynard said. “It’s just been underachieving and there has to be a reason.

“One thing I learned at Boise is making changes where necessary and not where you don’t need to. I’m fortunate to be a part of this program because there’s tons of great elements to what’s here.”

JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: Two weekends ago, a few current Bruins and two future Bruins competed at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Sophomore Ryann Krais took home the silver medal for Team USA in the heptathlon with 5,454 points. She won four of the seven events, including a lifetime-best in the high jump (5-9.25) and a win in the 800-meter (2:18.56) by nearly four seconds.

Krais also won the 100-meter hurdles (13.93) and long jump (18-7.75). She placed second in the 200-meter (25.43), fifth in the shot put (37-4.50) and sixth in the javelin (109-3).

Incoming freshman Turquoise Thompson fell just short of a medal, coming in fourth place in the 400-meter hurdles at 59.08. On the men’s side, sophomore Karlton Rolle ran a lifetime-best in the 200-meter in 20.78 to place fifth. Incoming freshman thrower Matt Kosecki finished fifth in the discus with a throw of 183-6.

SEARCH FOR COACHES: It was announced this past Thursday that cross country and distance coach Eric Peterson will not have his contract renewed.

Peterson spent 16 years on the UCLA staff, which included a 15-year tenure as head women’s cross country coach and a nine-year stint as distance coach and men’s cross country coach.

Last season, men’s cross country earned an at-large berth to nationals and placed 26th after a sixth-place finish at regionals and fifth at Pac-10s. The women were 17th at regionals and last at Pac-10s.

The Oregon alumnus has coached numerous All-Americans in all aspects of distance running.

A sprint coach position is also looking to be filled soon.