2010 FISU championships in Kingston: Western's Vigars named Canadian head coach
OTTAWA (CIS) - Long-time Western Ontario coach Bob Vigars has
been appointed head coach of the Canadian team for the 17th FISU
world university cross country championships to be hosted by
Queen's University and the City of Kingston on April 11, 2010.
Vigars is one of the most decorated and successful coaches in CIS cross country history.
At the helm of Western's men's program since 1968 and women's team since 1972, the native of St. Thomas, Ont., has led the Mustang men to four CIS team titles and nine national medals, and the UWO women to seven CIS team banners and 16 podiums. He has also guided his runners to 16 OUA banners, including a conference-record 11 women's crowns.
Vigars has been named CIS cross country coach of the year 11 times (women's and men's combined) and has received the honour at the OUA level on 16 occasions.
The 65-year-old has also enjoyed tremendous success at the helm of the Western track and field teams over his career, before stepping down has women's head coach in 1989 and as mentor of the men's program in 1999. A three-time CIS coach of the year and 12-time OUA coach of the year in athletics, he guided the Mustangs to three national titles and 11 conference championships.
A member of the Canadian coaching staff at the 1979 (Mexico) and 1981 (Romania) Summer Universiades, Vigars was inducted into the University of Western Ontario Cross Country and Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2000, was the first recipient of the OUA Distinguished Service Award for track and field that same year and, still in 2000, saw the OUA name its men's track and field coach of the year award the Bob Vigars Trophy.
"What an honour as well as an exciting challenge it is for me to head up the Canadian team for the 2010 FISU championships," Vigars said. "To have this event in our backyard with my good friend and former student Shane Lakins overseeing the administration of the meet - well, that's as good as it gets."
"I cannot think of a better person to lead Canada at the upcoming world championships," said Lakins, president of the 2010 host organizing committee and Canada's head coach at three previous FISU championships. "Bob's leadership in our sport is second to none and his passion to promote Canadian university cross country has not diminished over his 40-plus years at Western. Our team is in good hands."
In Kingston, Canadian runners will look to improve on a ninth-place finish in women's competition and an 11th position in the men's race at the last FISU championships in Mauquenchy, France, in 2008.
"The challenge for me is first to gain the trust of our team members and their respective coaches so that we can collectively do the right things from now until race day next April," said Vigars. "To put our best feet forward come April 11, each athlete must blend the right type of training that allows for a successful CIS indoor track season this winter over 3,000 metres, but also lend sufficient strength to race the longer and harder cross country distances of five and 10 kilometres on a most probable muddy track in April."
"If we can muster our troops to make a firm commitment to the task ahead, I am confident we will be in the hunt for a podium result. We have what it takes!"
Over 130 student-athletes from more than 15 countries are expected to compete on April 11 on the historical course of Old Fort Henry, which will previously serve as the site of the 2009 CIS cross country championships on November 14.