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UCLA director of track and field and cross country announces retirement

Coach Avery Anderson talks to an athlete. Anderson retired as director from UCLA track and field and cross country on Wednesday. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

By Joseph Crosby

May 16, 2024 1:31 p.m.

Avery Anderson was named director of both UCLA track and field and cross country in 2017, the third act of his Bruin career.

Seven years later, that arc is reaching its conclusion.

UCLA Athletics announced Wednesday that Anderson is retiring from his role as the steward of both the track and field and cross country programs ahead of the 2024-2025 season. Anderson was a two-sport athlete at UCLA, competing on the track and field team while also playing wide receiver for UCLA football. He later served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bruins for track and field from 2001-2002.

“I have been extremely blessed to have this chapter in my life, but I’ve chosen to retire from coaching,” Anderson said in a statement. “I’ve poured my heart and soul into UCLA’s track and field and cross country programs, and I would sincerely like to thank all of our hard-working student-athletes for their trust in me.”

Anderson began coaching following his return to track and field after a back injury ended his professional football career. He pursued the decathlon – competing internationally – while also holding various volunteer assistant coach roles at Cal State Northridge, UCLA and Kansas State.

The bulk of Anderson’s coaching career came at CSUN, including six years as the Matadors’ director of track and field and cross country before returning to the Bruins in 2017.

Anderson led the men’s track and field team to a second-place finish at the Pac-12 championships in 2019, the same year he won Pac-12 Coach of the Year. The women’s track and field team cemented its best conference under Anderson this season, finishing third to conclude its time as part of the Conference of Champions.

On the cross country side, the Bruins finished in the conference’s top five twice during Anderson’s tenure when the men’s team finished third in 2017 and fourth in 2019.

“I would like to thank Avery for his commitment and service to his alma mater,” said athletic director Martin Jarmond in a statement. “In particular, he helped our track and field and cross country program navigate challenging circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

At the individual level, five men have won Pac-12 crowns for track and field, with seven accomplishing the same feat for the women’s team under Anderson. This weekend, graduate student Federica Botter won her second consecutive conference title in the javelin throw.

The Bruins are still searching for their first national championships in cross country and men’s indoor track and field. They will have a chance at the latter when the NCAA West preliminaries begin next week.

In the meantime, UCLA said a national search for a new coach is already underway.

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Joseph Crosby
Crosby was the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats.
Crosby was the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats.
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