For many of the UCLA track and field athletes, Rob Jarvis is a new face. He has a premier position in the program he hasn’t had in the past, but he’s no stranger to Westwood.
From 2010-13 Jarvis worked as the UCLA jumps coach and coached three record-setting athletes in the decathlon, all of whom stand in the UCLA all-time top-10 list. He also coached seven NCAA All-Americans and nine NCAA Western Regional qualifiers in the four-year span.
Now, after a two-year coaching stint with IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, Jarvis has returned to UCLA as the volunteer director of operations.
“While I was moving out to Florida I was almost killed in a car accident,” Jarvis said. “I was hit and pulled myself out two minutes before another truck hit (my car).”
He sustained a broken back and has undergone several surgeries to rectify the damage since then, and has another follow-up surgery coming in March.
Despite the accident and the severity of his injuries, Jarvis stayed the course and maintained his position as track and field coach at IMG from 2014-15.
The opportunity to coach alongside one of his long-time mentors, world-renowned sprints coach Loren Seagrave, was one Jarvis could not pass up. But the physical demands were extensive.
“At IMG I was outside coaching from 8:30 in the morning until probably 5 at night,” Jarvis said. “It was physically demanding and mentally demanding. It was really challenging.”
The demands of coaching at IMG put a burden on Jarvis’ body that caused him to seek a purely administrative position for his next job. Jarvis contacted UCLA track and field director Mike Maynard about a volunteer position in the winter of 2015.
“When I reached out to coach Maynard last year it was for the more administrative side … my heart is really with coaching at the college level,” Jarvis said. “I wanted to see if I could coach again, and now I know I can at a high level.”
Jarvis rejoined UCLA track and field as the volunteer director of operations in January 2016, and since then he has impressed his fellow coaches.
“He brings a maturity and he is very thorough in his training,” said throws and men’s coach John Frazier. “He has a good scientific approach and he is really personable with the athletes.”
Jarvis attributes this maturity to coaching with Seagrave and the tutelage of Dutch national athletics consultant Rana Reider.
“Both Rana and Loren are two of the leading coaches in the world for track and field,” Jarvis said. “Just being mentored by those two took my coaching to a completely different level that I didn’t even know would be possible.”
Since starting his position as volunteer director just over a year ago, Jarvis added coaching of the jumps squad to his list of obligations for the 2017 season. It is a position Jarvis said he is very blessed to have, and athletes feel the same.
“He’s a competitor like me,” said redshirt senior jumper Austin Hazel. “He has always been the type of person who will push you to achieve your goals at a very high level.”