Unexpected move for head of Cavaliers’ cross country and track programs.
Written by: David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
In an unexpected move, the University of Virginia’s head coach and director of track and field and cross country, Jason Vigilante, has resigned, university officials announced yesterday. Vigilante, who coached middle distance stars Robby Andrews and Lance Roller, had been with the college since 2008.
“Jason Vigilante brought a high level of energy, competitiveness, and focus to our track and field/cross country programs,” said Craig Littlepage, Virginia’s athletics director in a statement. “His development of national and conference champions is a true indicator of his coaching abilities.”
In his first year the Virginia’s men’s team captured the 2008 Atlanta Coast Conference (ACC) Cross Country title and were co-champions at the 2009 ACC outdoor track and field meet, while the women’s cross country team captured its first NCAA Southeast Regional crown. Those achievements earned Vigilante the ACC Men’s Cross Country and the Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year honors. In 2010 he coached Robby Andrews to the NCAA Indoor title in the 800 meters; it was the program’s first NCAA individual title since 1989. Andrews went on to win the NCAA Outdoor Championship at 800 meters in 2011.
“I am appreciative for the opportunity to have coached at such a great university and work with so many outstanding people,” Vigilante said in a statement provided by the university officials. “I am also excited for a chance to take a break. I have invested every ounce possible to help this program succeed, and at this point I’m happy about what we were able to do. I wish the cross country and track and field teams continued success and will remain a loyal supporter of the UVA athletics department.”
Originally from Morristown, N.J., Vigilante competed for North Carolina State during his collegiate career, but was not an outstanding athlete (in 1997 he finished 105th at the USA Cross Country Championships). He turned to training athletes in 1997, and became best known as a coach when working at the University of Texas where he started as an assistant coach, and was promoted to head cross country coach and was responsible for guiding the development of the school’s middle distance runners, including Olympian Leo Manzano.
Earlier this year, “Vig” started coaching miler Alan Webb who relocated from Portland, Ore., to Charlottesville. There was no word yet on how his resignation from Virginia would affect his relationship with Webb.