SportsTrack & Field

Selection of new head coach expected within a week



Oregon head cross country coach and assistant athletic director Vin Lananna told reporters Tuesday that the coaching search to replace departed assistant director of track and field Dan Steele has been narrowed down to three candidates.

“We’re not ready to make a decision (yet). We should be wrapped up by this weekend,” Lananna said. “The first part of next week. We want to wait till GameDay’s over.”

Lananna declined to name any candidates, citing the sensitivity of timing. The NCAA cross country season wraps up in four weeks, and indoor track and field season begins in January.

“We had a lot of people interested in the opportunity here. It is a great opportunity,” Lananna said. “Dan Steele is a difficult person to replace for many reasons, but from a practical perspective, the main reason is that he carved out a very diverse set of responsibilities that he oversaw.

“We didn’t try to look for somebody who did exactly what Dan did. We tried to look at what was important for our future of the program at the University of Oregon and tried to narrow down our competition from those people.”

Steele was named Northern Iowa’s head coach of track and field and cross country on Sept. 29, the beginning of fall term at the University. The 2009 NCAA Indoor Coach of the Year, Steele guided the Duck men to an indoor track and field championship — the first in school history — last season and oversaw a pair of runner-up finishes by the men and women at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

A native of Moline, Ill., who attended Eastern Illinois, Steele worked extensively with Oregon’s multi-event athletes, two of whom — Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen — won the Pacific-10 Conference and NCAA championships in the decathlon and heptathlon, respectively. Eaton also won the 2008 NCAA Outdoor decathlon championship and the 2009 NCAA Indoor heptathlon championship.

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