On Track With Coach O’Boyle

Vince O’Boyle, UC Irvine’s director of men’s and women’s track and field and head coach of men’s and women’s cross country, recently announced his retirement, effective December31. Furthermore, associate head coach Jeff Perkins will take over the head coach position for the track & field and cross country programs following his retirement. Coach O’Boyle is in his 32nd cross country season as head coach and30th year directing the track program. Throughout the years, Coach O’Boyle has undoubtedly made his marks on UC Irvine’s tracks.

Courtesy of UCI Athletics

Courtesy of UCI Athletics

“There’s no real reason why I decided to retire. I’m planning on still coaching,”  Coach O’Boyle said. “I have a very good reputation in the coaching field. I won’t be going to another school. That I know I’m not going to be doing, but I have a reputation in order to be able to maybe coach national cross athletics. But I’m going to take some time before I do that. Nothing’s in the works right now.”

During his career at UCI, Coach O’Boyle was named Big West Conference Coach of the Year 20 times; 12 times for women’s cross country, seven times for men’s cross country and once for women’s track and field. He has also developed one of the top distance programs in the nation, guiding the Anteaters to four women’s cross country NCAA championship meets.

“One of the highlights I would think [is when] the women’s [cross country] team placed fourth in the NCAA championship in 1990. We had three All-Americans on that team and it’s the highest place still to this day that any women’s team has placed in the national championships in the university. They did a heck of a job. That was a very, very good team,”  O’Boyle said.

Another success for Coach O’Boyle is having coached Charles Jock from 2009-2012.

“Charles came in 2009 and developed into an outstanding middle distance runner. In 2011 he was second in the NCAA championships. He turned around two weeks later and made the world championship team to represent the United States. That alone is one heck of an accomplishment; making the world championship team,” O’Boyle said.

“Then in 2012, his senior year, he won the national championships. In winning the national championships, he’s the first individual to have won a national championship for UCI in 35 years. He’s running the professional circuit now. That again, is an unbelievable accomplishment.”

Furthermore, the ideal athlete for Coach O’Boyle is one who lives for the sport; who loves to run and is dedicated to the sport.

Success for his teams comes not only through their athletic accomplishments, but also from their academic ones. O’Boyle’s women’s cross country program received UCI’s Faculty Athletic Representative Award for the school’s highest team grade-point average 11 times. In addition, 300 of his student-athletes in cross country and track have been named Big West Conference Scholar-Athletes in the last 15 years.

Having been a part of UC Irvine for over 30 years, Coach O’Boyle has watched the university grow and emerge academically and athletically into what it is today.

“Athletically, we’ve been three time volleyball champions, our baseball team has gone to NCAA championships; each sport has improved tremendously during the time I’ve been here,” O’Boyle said. “The university itself has been nationally ranked in every area. That’s a huge development. I started with a young university. But now it’s gotten bigger; the population has gotten bigger, obviously the size of the campus has gotten bigger with new buildings all over the place. That’s another tremendous change.”

Prior to joining the Anteaters, Coach O’Boyle worked at Citrus College for 11 years.  He has three conference championships in track and field there. O’Boyle then joined the ‘Eaters working as the assistant coach for track and field. Overall, Coach O’Boyle guided UCI to 12 Big West Conference titles in women’s cross country, and seven league championships in the men’s program. Throughout the years at UCI, he also coached 18 individual Big West champions in men’s and women’s cross country and 10 of his athletes earned All-American honors.

Having spent so many years of work and dedication at UCI, developing a love for it was inevitable.

“UCI is my life. I love this place. I’ll still be a part of the Irvine family the rest of my life. It means a tremendous amount to me. Thirty-two years every day, including summer I was here. So it’s not like I was part time. I worked here. I love this place, probably more than a lot of people realize,”  Coach O’Boyle said.

“You don’t want to go until you can’t coach anymore,” he said, “I went 32 years coaching, I’m very lucky to do that at a great university.”