Sheldon Blockburger begins his seventh season as an assistant coach for the University of Arizona. He is charged with directing the Wildcats' horizontal and vertical jumpers and multi-events. Blockburger has coached a national champion in six of the last seven seasons.
High jumper Brigetta Barrett, under Blockburger's leadership, reigned supreme in 2011. She was the 2011 USA Champion with a personal best of 6-4.75 and won both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles. She also collected the MPSF title indoors and the Pac-10 Outdoor title.
Blockburger's jumpers also swept the conference high jump titles on the men's side with Edgar Rivera-Morales winning the Mount Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Indoor title with a clearance of 7-2.5 and Nick Ross with the Pac-10 Outdoor title with a height of 7-2.5. Both earned All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
At the 2011 Pac-10 Outdoor Championships, Arizona's jumpers earned four all-conference honors and Liana Fuentes picked up a bronze finish in the heptathlon.
In 2010, Liz Patterson won the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships title in the high jump with a clearance of 6-4. Patterson went on to earn a runner-up finish at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships and the 2010 U.S. Championships. Blockburger was named the 2010 MPSF Women's Assistant Coach of the Year after guiding Barrett and Patterson to a 1-2 sweep in the high jump at the MPSF Championships.
Ross earned All-America honors, both indoors and outdoors, in the high jump and was the only UA male student-athlete to score at the 2010 NCAA outdoor meet. Rivera-Morales won the 2010 MPSF Indoor Championships title in the long jump.
Blockburger coached Jake Arnold to back-to-back NCAA decathlon titles in 2006 and 2007. Arnold's score of 8,215 in 2007 broke a 19-year-old school record and was the sixth-highest score in NCAA meet history. Arnold was also named the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) Field Athlete of the Year. Arnold went on to earn a runner-up finish at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships with a school-record score of 5,909. Arnold also finished 13th at the 2007 IAAF World Championships with his second-best score ever (8,002).
Prior to his arrival in Tucson in the fall of 2005, Blockburger spent nine seasons coaching the jumps, throws, short hurdles and multi-events at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo prior to his arrival in Tucson in the fall of 2005. During his time at Cal Poly, Blockburger coached 15 All-Americans and 20 Big West Conference Champions. At the 2004 NCAA Championships, Sharon Day and Kaylene Wagner each high jumped 6-2.75 to place second and third, respectively. At the 2005 NCAA Championships, Day upset the reigning NCAA Champion, Chaunte Howard, to win the event with a school-record jump of 6-4.
From 2002-04, Blockburger also served as a head regional coach for the WGA Decathlon Club, where he coached two post-collegiate decathletes in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Trials. He placed Paul Terek on the 2004 Olympic Decathlon Team with a score of 8,312.
Blockburger was named head coach of Team USA for the U.S. vs. Germany decathlon competition in 1998, where the Americans made a huge second-day comeback to defeat the Germans in Lubbock, Texas. He was also the head coach of Team USA for the U.S. vs. Germany decathlon competition in 2008 and led the squad to its fifth-consecutive victory over the German team. Arnold was the individual runner-up in the event.
An accomplished competitor at the international level, Blockburger was a standout at LSU where he captured the Southeastern Conference decathlon title in 1986 with a then-meet record of 7,737 points and set the indoor pentathlon world record at the 1987 SEC Championships with 4,453 points. Blockburger was the decathlon runner-up at the 1989 USA Championships with a score of 8,248 and was a bronze medalist at the 1990 USA Championships with 8,301 points. In 1993, he won the MultiStars Decathlon in Brescia, Italy with 8,296 points. Blockburger retired following the 1994 USA Championships where he finished fourth with a score of 8,281. He did come back in 1995 to win the inaugural heptathlon at USA Championships with 6,030 points.
A native of Newport Beach, Calif., Blockburger earned his bachelor's degree from LSU in 1988. He is married to Cynthia Blockburger and the couple has two children, Alyssa and Johnnie.