A NCAA champion as a San Jose State student with more than 40 years of coaching experience, Ron Davis is returning to his alma mater as the new cross country and women's outdoor track coach. Marie Tuite, the Spartans' interim director of athletics, made the announcement.
His breadth of coaching men and women in track and cross country covers Olympic Games medalists and NCAA and conference champions. He trained 1980 Olympic Games 3000-meter steeplechase runner Filbert Bayi of Tanzania to a silver medal. Six years ago, Vincent Rono of Kenya was the NCAA outdoor 1,500-meter champion running for the University of South Alabama.
ONCE A SPARTAN - ALWAYS A SPARTAN
"This is a dream come true," says Davis. "When (former San Jose State athletics director) Tom Bowen called me and said 'welcome home', you have no idea how good that felt. I have always been a Spartan and have always had very strong feelings for the school. Now, I have the chance to build a new legacy with women's track and continue the good work that (former head coach) Augie (Argabright) started with cross country.
"San Jose State made me who I am today. I've worked all over the world, with some tremendous athletes and people over the years, but San Jose has always had a special place in my heart. When anyone, especially recruits for the new women's track team visit our offices and see all those NCAA Track and Field Championship trophies, it shows a legacy of excellence that we are aiming to get back to.
"I want to thank San Jose State for this opportunity and I can't wait to get started."
CROSS COUNTRY & STEEPLECHASE STAR
Davis was a member of two outstanding Spartan cross country teams - the 1962 squad that won the NCAA Championship and the 1961 team that finished second. In track and field, he specialized in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He finished sixth at the 1961 and fifth at the 1962 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. His San Jose State best time of 9:06.0 still ranks him among the top-10 clockings in school history.
"Throughout Coach Davis' career, he has always held a special place in his heart for San Jose State University. And, now, he has earned the honor of being our new head men's and women's cross country/women's track coach," says Tuite.
"I have no doubt he will lead this program to great success. He is an accomplished educator and our men and women student-athletes will greatly benefit from his coaching and commitment to San Jose State. "
AN INTERNATIONAL COACHING CAREER WITH A GOLD MEDALIST'S ENDORSEMENT
His NCAA Division I coaching experiences include two seasons at Ohio State, two at Maryland Eastern Shore, four at the University of New Orleans and four at the University of South Alabama. Davis returns to San Jose State after one season as the assistant coach for cross country and track and field at Cal State East Bay.
Well-connected worldwide, he has coached and trained distance runners in Canada, Ireland, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Nigeria.
"Ron has demonstrated his abilities as a successful cross country and running coach... and I know personally that he (Ron) is totally committed to the academic success of all his athletes. His abilities to form and maintain the interpersonal bonds that stimulate his athletes both academically and athletically is particularly impressive...," says two-time Olympic Games gold medal winner Edwin Moses who first worked with Davis training African nation athletes in the 1980's.
A qualifier for the 1964 U.S. Olympic team trials in the steeplechase, Davis first entered the coaching profession in 1968 training athletes from Pakistan for the Olympics in Mexico City. The following spring, he was a San Jose State student assistant to legendary track and field coach Bud Winter when the Spartans won the 1969 NCAA Championship.
Davis will begin his new duties on May 16 coaching the San Jose State men's and women's cross country teams and formulating his plan to lead the first Spartan women's outdoor track squad into competition in the spring of 2014.