Jan. 13, 2012
By Adam Gonzales -
The Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s track and field teams both had very successful seasons last year – runner-up finishes at the Pac-12 Championships and top-10 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In his tenure, Cross Country and Track and Field Director Fred Harvey has established a level of quality competition combined with an outstanding support staff that has his squads poised for continued success, on and off the track.
“It was great to have the kind of season that we had last year because it was great to see how hard the coaches are working in developing each of the event areas and the type of student-athletes that we have here in the program,” Harvey said. “Having a season like that was very satisfying for everyone involved in the program. Knowing what Arizona track and field could possibly be is one of the most satisfying aspects of last season.”
Harvey has been a member of the Wildcat coaching staff in various positions for 25 years and is entering his 10th season as Director of Cross Country and Track and Field. In that time, he has assembled a staff known for its experience, recruiting ability and dedication. After such a successful run in 2011, Harvey also had high praise for not only the student-athletes, but for everyone involved in the program.
“I loved seeing the work everyone put it,” said Harvey. “Not just the coaches but our entire support staff including athletic training, academics to media relations. People discount what those aspects means into developing a program. The athletic treatment center was huge and the local media giving our student-athletes coverage which makes them feel good about what they do and it makes you work a little bit harder.”
Like any coach would, Harvey embraced and relished the success that the Wildcats had last year. His men’s and women’s track and field teams won a combined four NCAA titles, 16 conference championships and 27 All-America certificates. The second-place finish by both genders was the best combined finish in school history. He saw years of hard work come to fruition and was also motivated to work that much harder.
“I’m big on winning,” said Harvey. “The win-loss aspect of last season was great, and we did some fabulous things.”
The Wildcats open this season with top 10 rankings for both the men (ninth) and the women (10th). A group of seasoned veterans return to join a carefully selected group of newcomers. In total, the squads welcome 15 new men and 15 new women for the 2012 season. Where some coaches might shy away, Harvey embraces the national recognition. He uses it as motivation for the athletes.
“I love being ranked,” said Harvey. “If they were to come back tomorrow and say we made a mistake and we want to rank your team No. 1, I’m okay with that. At this level, whether its football, basketball, baseball, or track and field, if you can’t handle the expectations of the public viewing your program as being that good and giving you that recognition, then you probably shouldn’t be coaching at this level, and as a student-athlete, you probably shouldn’t be competing at this level. This should be what you strive for, to be the best that you can.”
Harvey has high expectations for the Wildcats in 2012, and rightfully so.
“With the things that we accomplished last year, we did it with mostly young student-athletes,” said Harvey. “We have student-athletes coming back with personalities on this team, who are the hardest workers, and the best athletes in the program, so my expectation this year is to do nothing less than what we did last year.”
The Wildcats officially open the 2012 season at the Lumberjack Invitational, Jan. 14, hosted by NAU in Flagstaff, Arizona. Harvey wants and expects to be better than they were in the previous year.
“My full expectation for indoor this year is to be top 10 at the worst, and at best winning a national title or finishing in the top four,” said Harvey. “We have to come away with a trophy this year. If you don’t have the expectations to get better every year, then I don’t know what you’re doing as a coach.”