Drew Wartenburg, who has guided UC Davis to five Big West Conference championships in cross country and track and field since arriving on campus in 2009, has stepped down as director of the two programs in order to pursue other coaching opportunities, it was announced Monday by Director of Athletics Terry Tumey.
Wartenburg joined the UCD coaching staff as men’s and women’s cross country coach and assistant track and field coach before assuming leadership over the two programs in 2011.
His teams have won two Big West cross country titles — one each for the men and women — as well as the last three Big West women’s track and field championships.
Wartenburg is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University (Connecticut), where he lettered in soccer. He was an assistant coach at Oregon State for women’s cross country and track and field.
“The gift and power of working in capacities that allow me to invest and shape human capital, on the physical and emotional levels, is something that I will never take for granted,” Wartenburg said in a prepared release. “The decision to pursue other coaching avenues is not one that has come easily or been made without a virtually all-consuming amount of thought and reflection.”
Wartenburg did not specify what those “other coaching avenues” are.
Under his leadership, UCD won its first Big West men’s cross country championship in 2010 — a year before the women’s team matched it with its first-ever Big West title.
The Aggies’ Jonathan Peterson won the men’s individual title during their banner year while Sarah Sumpter did the same for the UCD women in 2011. For those team and individual efforts, Wartenburg was named the Big West Coach of the Year.
The Aggie women also finished second in 2009, 2012 and 2013 while the men were third-place finishers in 2009 and 2013. The teams have combined to finished third or higher in seven of 10 cross country championship appearances. Additionally, Peterson finished 14th at the 2010 national championships, earning All-America honors.
Wartenburg’s success has been just as prevalent with the track and field teams. Since becoming the program’s director three years ago, he’s helped push the Aggies to be one of the prominent track schools in the Big West.
Behind Sumpter — the 2012 Big West women’s Track Athlete of the Year, who won both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs at the BWC finals — the Aggies won their first-ever conference track title that year.
They backed up that title with another in 2013.
The Aggies completed the three-peat this May, roaring to a Big West championship on their own Woody Wilson Track as sprinter Ashley Marshall won both the 100 and 200 for the second straight year. That led to Marshall’s second consecutive Big West Track Athlete of the Year Award, and the program’s third.
Wartenburg added Big West Coach of the Year honors during each championship season as UCD became the first team since Cal State Northridge (2006-11) to win three straight titles. Holly Tokar, winner in the pole vault, added to the Aggies’ podium parade by being named the Big West Freshman of the Year this spring.
In the classroom, the women’s cross country team has earned UCD’s Lysle Leach Team Academic Award for highest average grade-point average each of the past three years while distance runner and former Davis High standout Trevor Halsted is a prestigious 2014 Capital One Academic All-America third-team winner.
“Drew has been a wonderful representative of our program, both in and out of competition, and we’re grateful for the success and prominence he’s brought to our track and field and cross country programs,” Tumey continued. “We wish him the best as he pursues the next chapter of his outstanding coaching career.”
In addition to his Aggie duties, Wartenburg has been personal coach to Kim Conley — former UCD competitor and 2012 Olympian who in June won the 10,000-meter run at the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento. Conley is an Aggie volunteer assistant coach.
Tumey said that plans to replace Wartenburg are being considered.