Santa Clara, Calif. - Santa Clara University announced on Wednesday, after an extensive search Bronco associate head coach Felipe Montoro, in his seventh year with the program, has been promoted to head coach of the cross country and track programs at Santa Clara University as 10-year head coach Tom Service is retiring as of Dec. 15, 2010.
Montoro will oversee both the men's and the women's programs after overseeing the men's coaching duties the past seven years.
Service led the Bronco program to many firsts, including the school's first female Rhodes Scholar in Noelle Lopez (2008) and the school's first-ever cross country All-American in Stephanie Wilson (2009). Service, who oversaw the women's program and was the 2001 WCC Coach of the Year, coached Wilson to a WCC title in 2009, in addition to two WCC runner-ups, 14 All-WCC First-Team runners (top 10) and 10 All-WCC Honorable Mention runners (top 15).
"We are so pleased to be hiring Felipe Montoro to run our cross country and track programs," said Santa Clara Athletic Director Dan Coonan. "He has been instrumental to their recent success, and is the right person to build upon the strong foundation laid by Coach Tom Service. Felipe has a profound appreciation for all the values that Santa Clara holds so dear. While we had a good sense of that going in to the hiring process, that fact was really emphasized to us by the students who have run for him in our program. That was a big factor in his favor during the search. We are very excited to be handing over the reins to the program to Felipe."
"Leaving the Santa Clara cross country and track coaching position is very "bittersweet" for me," said Service. "However I believe the timing is right for me to pursue other challenges in my life. The hardest part of leaving are the relationships with the team, the coaches and the SCU staff that will be missed. It makes everything a lot easier when I know that Felipe was selected as head coach. We have worked together closely for seven seasons and he has been an integral part of the growth and positive direction of the Santa Clara University distance program. He is the perfect successor. He is an exciting young coach with a wealth of knowledge and is extremely well liked by the team and staff."
"I could not be more pleased to continue coaching at Santa Clara in a head coaching capacity," said Montoro. "I would like to thank Dan Coonan and the Santa Clara administration here for the opportunity to lead the special student-athletes that choose Santa Clara cross country and track. I want to especially thank Tom Service for being such a tremendous mentor and better friend. Continued improvement in the WCC, region and nation will be our top priority moving forward. With the outstanding foundation that Tom established, those goals are attainable."
In his seven years at Santa Clara, Montoro has coached a WCC runner-up and third-place finisher, five All-WCC First Team cross country runners (top 10) and seven All-WCC Honorable Mention runners (top 15). In addition, he has seen the men finish in the top half of the conference each cross country season, including four times in the top three.
In 2009, Montoro saw Robbie Reid finish as the runner-up at the 2009 WCC Cross Country Championship. It was the highest finish ever for a Bronco at the league championship. Reid was also the Bronco Invitational champion, had the highest finish ever for a Bronco male at the NCAA West Region Championship and finished 10th at the Stanford Invitational while setting the school record in the 8K. In addition, Chris Sampson gained All-WCC honors with his top 10 finish.
Montoro coached Mike Delaurenti to the 2008 NCAA Division 1 Regional Track and Field Championships in the steeplechase, a first for Santa Clara.
Before coming to Santa Clara, Montoro was an assistant coach for Cal State Fullerton's men's and women's cross country programs for two seasons, along with the track and field programs for three seasons. While at Fullerton, Montoro headed the recruiting efforts for the Titan men's distance runners and helped to lead two Titans to NCAA Regional qualifying times.
Prior to working with the Titans, Montoro was an assistant with the combined cross country program at UC Santa Barbara during the 2001 campaign. While with the Gauchos, Montoro assisted head coach Pete Dolan in recruiting and traveled with the B squad.
His collegiate career began at the University of Oregon before transferring to UC Santa Barbara in 1998. He competed under Dolan for three seasons and earned his bachelor's degree in History and Spanish. While assisting at Cal State Fullerton for head coach John Elders, Montoro earned his master's degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion.
Montoro lives in Willow Glen with his wife Amanda and their daughter Maribel.