'Eaters' O'Boyle retiring

Vince O'Boyle, whose coaching tenure is the second longest in the history of UC Irvine athletics, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31.

O'Boyle is in his 32nd season as head coach of the Anteaters men's and women's cross country programs, and his 30th as director of the UCI men's and women's track & field programs after serving two seasons as an assistant track coach.

During his UCI career, O'Boyle has been named Big West Conference Coach of the Year 20 times in cross country and track & field.

"The track and field and cross country programs have been a great part of my life," O'Boyle said in a statement released by the school. "I have coached many outstanding people and athletes over the years. My heart will always be in this great sport and that will never go away.

"For every man and woman I have coached over the years, it has been an honor and privilege. Regardless of how fast they ran, jumped or threw, it was more important to me about how they have developed over the years. This is why I have enjoyed coaching.

"I have enjoyed being a part of UC Irvine, which is one of the top universities in the country. I have watched it grow into a beautiful and successful campus. I want to thank UC Irvine for letting me be a part of this outstanding university and the Anteater family.

"I want to extend my thanks to Chancellor Dan Aldrich for being here to start this campus and now to Chancellor Michael Drake, who has led this campus into the upper echelon of universities in this nation.

"Thank you also to Linda Dempsay for seeing something in me to hire me in 1982. I also thank Mike Izzi for building this athletic department into one of the top programs on the conference and national levels."

O'Boyle has coached the Anteaters women's cross country program to 12 Big West titles, including the first conference championship held in 1983. The UCI women's program won 10 of the first 13 Big West cross country championships conducted. In 1984, O'Boyle's women's cross country team scored a perfect team total of 15 points at the conference finals.

He has coached 13 Big West Athletes of the Year in women's cross country.

O'Boyle has led UCI women's cross country to four NCAA championship meets, including 1990 when the Anteaters finished fourth in the nation. UCI had three runners on that team who earned All-America honors.

He has coached the UCI men's cross country program to seven Big West titles, including three straight from 1989 to 1991.

Eighteen of O'Boyle's student-athletes in men's and women's cross country have been Big West Conference individual champions and he has coached nine All-Americans in cross country at UCI.

O'Boyle has coached 16 All-Americans in track & field, including Charles Jock, who became UCI's first NCAA individual champion in 34 years when he won the 800 meters at the 2012 NCAA Championships.

Success for his teams has come academically as well. His women's cross country program has received UCI's Faculty Athletic Representative Award for the school's highest team grade-point average 12 times, and during his UCI career nearly 1,000 of O'Boyle's student-athletes have been named scholar-athletes at UCI.

"Vince has been an outstanding ambassador for his sport and for UC Irvine," UCI Athletic Director Mike Izzi said. "His commitment to the student-athletes has been not only as a coach, but as a teacher and counselor.

"The care that Vince has for his student-athletes is demonstrated not just by the athletic achievements, but by the fact that he has had an exceptional number of scholar-athletes during his UCI career. He has a deep passion for his sport and for the student-athletes who represent UCI," Izzi said.

On the national level, O'Boyle served as head coach of the United States senior women's cross country team at the 1992 World Championships in Boston. He also served as a coach at the U.S. Olympic Festival on two occasions.

O'Boyle has also been a member of the NCAA Track & Field Committee that governs collegiate track and cross country.

Prior to his UCI career, he served 11 years as head coach at Citrus Community College, leading Citrus to the state cross country title in 1981.

As a student-athlete at Cal Poly Pomona, O'Boyle finished second in the 1968 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships and he was eighth at the 1969 Division I Cross Country Championships.

In 2010, O'Boyle was inducted into the 52nd annual Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame. He has been an active participant in the Mt. SAC Relays for the last 50 years, beginning as a runner for Monrovia High in 1963, as a student-athlete at Citrus and Cal Poly Pomona, and then as a coach at Citrus and UCI.

O'Boyle and his wife, Kathy, have one daughter, Kelly.

O'Boyle also mentioned others who have played large roles in his success.

"I want to thank my high school coach who said to 'Give up football and go into track; it will take you a long way.'

"Larry Knuth, who was the one who started all of this. He gave me my first coaching job and the one who told me about UC Irvine.

"Ed Conly, who was my coach at Citrus College and brought me back to coach at Citrus for 11 years. Without him and the faith he had in me, I wouldn't be the coach I am today.

"My father and mother, who taught me about hard work and to never give up.

"Lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Kathy, and daughter, Kelly," O'Boyle said. "I want to thank them for their continued understanding in being a coach's wife/daughter. The long hours away from home, working the home meets over the years and continued support. Without their help, understanding and support, I wouldn't be where I am today."

Current associate head coach Jeff Perkins will assume responsibility as head coach for the track & field/cross country programs, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

— From staff reports

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