Tony Veney is going home. Veney, now the former director of Portland State’s track and field and cross county teams, resigned yesterday from the position to return to his alma mater, UCLA. The former UCLA track star will now be the men’s sprints and hurdles coach for the school.
Veney leaves Portland State after only holding the director post for two years.
For most coaches, such a transition in a short period of time would be stressful, but Veney feels Portland State’s supportive environment really made the difference.
“I will definitely miss the relationships and associations I have developed with the great athletes at PSU over the past two years. The wonderful association with the university, president and athletic director have made this very difficult transition much easier,” said Veney of the career move.
The Portland State athletic department is still searching for a replacement for Veney.
Most at Portland State will remember Veney for breathing new life into the track and field program. Seventeen new school records were set this past season on the men’s track team and nine on the women’s.
Veney’s teams also shined during this year’s Big Sky Conference Track and Field Championships.
The men scored more indoor and outdoor points than they ever had before. And the women’s team placed a strong sixth in the competition, a school best. Before this past season, the women’s team placed ninth at the BCS competition nine years straight.
This past season also saw two Viking men earn BSC titles. Jim Sattem won the 100-meter dash, and he eventually placed sixth at the NCAA National Championships.
Long jumper Ryan Brown captured Portland State’s first ever BSC Indoor Athlete of the Week award and ended the season as the conference indoor champion.
On the women’s team, high jumper Lisa Gunderson became one of only two Viking women to ever advance to the NCAA National Championships. As the BSC outdoor-high-jump champion, Gunderson become the second Viking woman to ever earn the title of BSC Indoor Field Athlete of the Week.
Veney’s two years at Portland State not only brought success on the field, but also in the classroom. Under Veney, 28 athletes earned All-Big Sky Academic Awards.