Sheldon Blockburger begins his sixth season as an assistant coach for The University of Arizona.
In 2010, Blockburger continued his impressive tenure with his athletes at Arizona despite his relatively short time as a coach here. Liz Patterson won the second high jump title of her career, winning the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship in the event with a leap of 6-4. The title meant that Blockburger has now coached an athlete to a national title in five of his last six years of coaching. She would go on to be the runner up the the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships and the 2010 USA Track and Field Championships.
Blockburger was named as the Mount Pacific Sports Federation's Assistant Coach of the Year award for the women after guiding freshman Brigetta Barrett and Patterson to a 1-2 sweep in the high jump on the MPSF Championships. He also coached freshmen Lisa Egarter and Charlene Harber to All-Conference finishes in the pentathlon.
Freshman Nick Ross earned All-American honors both indoors and outdoors in the high jump as well under Blockburger and was the only male athlete to score at last year's NCAA outdoor meet. Fellow freshman Edgar Rivera-Morales won the MPSF title in the event. Edgar's brother, Luis. was also an All-American indoors in the long jump and set an indoor scool record of 7.99m (26-2 3/4) to win the MPSF meet.
The 2009 season was a big success for athletes under Blockburger's tutelage both indoors and outdoors. Of the 11 UA athletes earning All-American accolades on the season, six were coached by Blockburger.
Luis Rivera-Morales earned the first All-American finish of his career with a sixth-place finish in the long jump at the NCAA National Championships. Rivera-Morales also cleared the 26-foot barrier for the first time in his career at the Pac-10 Championships, winning the event there. Throughout the season, the only long jump event - indoors or outdoors - that Rivera-Morales did not finish first in was the NCAA Championships.
On the women's side, Blockburger helped guide Liz Patterson to runner-up finishes in the indoor and outdoor high jump championships. Her indoor championship mark of 1.95m (6-4) was the third highest jump in UA history.
Blockburger also led Shevell Quinley to an eighth place finish in the heptathlon in her final outdoor meet to bring her to a grand total of four All-American honors in her illustrious career. Gabriella Duclos earned her first All-American honors both indoors and outdoors in the pole vault to wrap up her career as well.
The 2008 NCAA Championships - both indoor and outdoor - were also a bright spot for athletes competing under Blockburger. Indoors, Luis Rivera-Morales placed ninth in the long jump with a jump of 25-7.25". Shevell Quinley placed third in the heptathlon with a school record score of 4,256 and Jasmin Day placed sixth in the high jump with a leap of 6-0.25". At the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Elizabeth Patterson jumped 6-1.25" on her first attempt to upset 2005 NCAA Champion and Blockburger's former athlete, Sharon Day, to win the high jump title. Jasmine Day finished in seventh to earn her second All-American honor of the season. Patterson's championship gave Blockburger his fourth national champion in as many years.
At the University of Arizona, 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 nineteen year old school record and was the sixth highest score in NCAA meet history. Jake was also named Field Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA. Arnold also finished second place at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships with a school record score of 5909. Jake went on to finish 13th at the 2007 World Championships with his second best score ever (8,002).
Other fine performances in 2007 included; Gabriella Duclos winning the PAC-10 Championship in the pole vault with a personal best clearance of 13-9.25" and Daniel Marshall winning the NCAA West Region triple jump title with a leap of 51-9.25". At the USATF National Junior Championships in Indianapolis, Elizabeth Patterson won the high jump with a clearance of 5-9.25". Blockburger was named the West Region Field Event Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA to conclude the season.
Blockburger spent nine seasons coaching the jumps, throws, short hurdles and multi-events at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo prior to arriving at Arizona in the fall of 2005. During his time at Cal Poly, Blockburger coached 15 All-Americans and 20 Big West Conference jumping 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, Chauntee Howard, to win the championship 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 one of them (Paul Terek) on the 2004 Olympic Decathlon Team with a score of 8,312. Blockburger was named Head Coach of the United States versus Germany Decathlon 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 the United States versus Germany Decathlon in 2008 and led the squad to its fifth consecutive victory over the Europeans. Former UA-athlete and Blockburger pupil Jake 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 (SEC) decathlon championship in 1986 with a meet-record 7,737 points and set the indoor pentathlon world record at the 1987 SEC Championships with 4,453 points. Blockburger was runner-up at the 1989 USATF Decathlon Championships with a score of 8,248 and was a bronze medalist at the 1990 USATF Decathlon Championships with 8,301 points. In 1993, he won the MultiStars Decathlon in Brescia, Italy with 8,296 points. Blockburger retired following the 1994 USATF Decathlon Championships where he finished in fourth with a score of 8,281. He did come back in 1995 to win the inaugural
USATF National Indoor Heptathlon Championship with 6,030 points.
A native of Newport Beach, Calif., Blockburger earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from LSU in 1988. He is married to Cynthia Blockburger. They have two children, Alyssa and Johnnie.