Ron Allice, 19-Year USC Track Coach, Announces Retirement
June 8, 2013
Ron Allice, USC's 19-year Director of Track and Field who led the men's and women's programs to a combined 25 NCAA top 10 finishes, including the 2001 NCAA women's team title, as well as 32 individual NCAA titles, has announced his retirement from coaching following today's final day of the 2013 NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Allice will remain USC's head coach until June 30, guiding Trojan athletes through the 2013 U.S. Championships.
"Since my senior year in high school, my one goal in life was to someday be a coach. I was blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of the most storied program in college and Olympic history. I will forever by humbled and grateful," Allice said. "Please know that this decision did not come easily nor was it made with haste. It was a decision based on deep personal and professional reflection.
"The USC Track and Field program has sustainable components in place for a bright and successful future."
Said USC Athletics Director Pat Haden: "I want to thank Ron for nearly two decades of tireless dedication to USC. Trojan track and field, with 29 national titles, has a deep and unrivaled history of NCAA champions and Olympic greats and Ron added many layers to that legacy. We take great pride in our track and field program at USC and we will find a successor to take the baton from Ron and build on his great accomplishments from the past 19 years."
At the 2013 NCAA Championships that concluded Saturday, Allice guided the men's team to a fifth-place finish while the women's squad tied for 21st. The men's team's 42 points was its most since 1977. Seniors Bryshon Nellum (400m) and Reggie Wyatt (400m IH) each won their first NCAA titles during the meet while Nellum also finished third in the 200m while junior Aaron Brown finished fifth in both the 100m and 200m. Junior Remington Conatser continued USC's dominance in the hammer, finishing second.
The women's team was led by junior Jenny Ozorai's second consecutive fourth-place in the hammer at the NCAAs while sophomore Alexandra Collatz finished fifth in the discuss. Senior Alitta Boyd was eighth in the triple jump and the women's 4x100m relay of Loudia Laarman, Melia Cox, Jenna Puterbaugh and Vanessa Jones took seventh.
"We really competed. There's no team that competed any better than we did for what we brought," Allice said. "We came with five people on the men's side. And even on the women, we had barely qualifiers out of the regionals, yet those people came here, performed, and scored. I couldn't be more proud of any team. We didn't have anyone who let us down.
"It's a good way to go out. As I tell people all the time, in coaching, you have to figure out when it looks like you're leading a parade not being chased by a mob."
Under Allice, the men's team finished in the top 10 in 14 of the last 19 seasons and the women's team finished in the top 10 in 11 of the last 18 years, including its 2001 NCAA title. The USC men's team's run of six consecutive top 10 finishes from 2005-10 was the first time it had accomplished that feat since the early `70s. From 2005-08 USC was the only school to have both the men's and women's teams post top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
In addition to his 2001 NCAA championship team, Allice led the women's squad to second-place finishes in 2000 and 2006 and to thirds in 1999 and 2002. He guided the men's team to top 5 finishes six times, including thirds in 1997 and 2003.
Complementing the 32 individual NCAA titles, Allice has produced 286 All-American first team selections, including 13 this year, and six conference championships. The program has also produced 18 of the 21 women's school records in the Olympic events and eight of the men's 21 records, not an easy task considering the glorious track and field history at USC.
Allice maintained, if not strengthened, USC's strong Olympic tradition. A USC student has represented the Trojans at the Olympics 54 times under Allice, winning 16 medals.
Among the many male track and field stars to come through his program are 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the hammer throw Balazs Kiss, who also set the NCAA Championship meet record, two-time Olympic 400m IH gold medalist Felix Sanchez and Nellum, a 2012 silver medalist in the 4x400m.
Allice's women's teams featured powerhouse athletes who starred on the national and world stages, including such greats as Angela Williams, who won an unprecedented four NCAA 100m titles (1999-2002), national record-setting and four-time NCAA title-winning hurdler Virginia Powell (2005-06), Natasha Danvers, the 400 IH NCAA champion in 2000, NCAA 800-meter champion Brigita Langerholc (2001) and 2000 Olympic medalist sprinter Torri Edwards.
Allice, a prep standout at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High, was always known for his ability to win. His overall dual meet coaching mark is 217-48-1 in 36 years at five schools, including 11 state championships in 16 years at Long Beach City College, his previous stop before landing at Troy. Allice's programs have produced more than 313 All-Americans, plus 27 Olympians, four world record holders and seven American record holders. He has coached at his high school, junior college and college alma maters on the way to compiling his outstanding coaching statistics.
His tenure at Long Beach City College ran from 1979-94 and his men's teams won the conference championship all 16 years while posting a 78-1 dual meet record. Besides the 11 state crowns (including five in a row), his Vikings had five state runner-up finishes and won 14 Southern California championships (with two second-place finishes). In 1980, his team was selected by Track & Field News as the best junior college team in history.
In his first coaching job, Allice guided the Long Beach Comets, a girls' and women's AAU program, for four years (1964-68), expanding the squad from just five girls to more than 150 competitors. During that time, he was also a graduate assistant at Long Beach State in 1964, an assistant at Compton (Calif.) High in 1966 (the team was second at the CIF championships) and the head coach for track and cross country for two years (1967-68) at Wilson High in Long Beach.
The next three seasons (1969-71), he was the track and cross country coach at Poly High in Long Beach before taking over as Cal Poly Pomona's track and cross country head coach for two years (1972-73), winning two CCAA titles (a first in school history) and finishing fifth in 1972 and sixth in 1973 at the NCAA College Division championships.
He spent the next five seasons (1974-78) as the track and cross country head coach at Long Beach State. Despite being a new Division I program and having just three scholarships, four of his squads placed among the nation's Top 15 dual meet teams. He won one Pacific Coast Athletic Association title and his teams finished second twice. Two of his cross country teams won the PCAA crown (two others were runners-up).
Allice and his loving wife Sharlene, who passed away in June of 2011, have three children: Lance (45, who is a Los Angeles city attorney), Melinda (43, a USC graduate in the field of geriatric and special patient care who made Coach Allice a grandfather with eight-year old son Jay Ron and seven-year old daughter Aliyah) and Sean (37, a USC graduate of the school of Cinema who is teaching English at Bellflower High).