The Portland State athletic department decided to take another step towards rebuilding the athletics program. Along with three other coaches, cross country and track coaches Ken and Keith Woodard were relieved of their coaching duties in early spring.
Two weeks ago, the new program director for PSU track and cross country was hired. Tony Veney, former assistant men’s track and field coach at University of Oregon, was handed the job by PSU athletic director Tom Burman. Officially, Veney began his coaching duties July 1.
The athletic department is hoping that Veney can create a dynasty at Portland State in the near future. Veney’s responsibilities have been increased. He will act as coach, as well as director of the program. Veney will be working on rebuilding and maintaining both the men’s and women’s track and cross country programs.
Veney brings coaching experience from the nationally recognized UO track program. The Ducks went from a no-name team in 1998 to the top 10 the next year and hitting a number one ranking in 2000.
While at UO, Veney was an assistant to the men’s track team and did the recruiting for the track and cross country squads. Veney understands that the job with Portland State holds more responsibilities, and notes that as being a major reason in why he decided to take the position.
Up first on Veney’s to-do list is hiring two assistant coaches, getting in contact with the existing squad and recruiting to complete the roster for the 2001-2002 seasons.
The plan is to rebuild by recruiting prime Oregon student-athletes who he feels will make a positive impact on the Vikings’ Program and the Big Sky Conference. Veney doesn’t expect results to appear at the snap of his fingers, but he hopes the community and the fans understand that he needs their support and patience in building a better program.
Veney was also named head coach of the Goodwill Games for the United States Women’s Track and Field team. The team will compete later this summer, September 4-7, in Brisbane, Australia. In a recent press release, Veney stated his excitement about the opportunity and is honored to be a part of such an event. The resume booster shows that he is not only qualified enough to coach at the collegiate level, but even amongst world class competition.
Last fall, the PSU cross country teams finished in mediocre fashion at the regional run-off. The men’s team came in at 21st place and the women placed 17th. Both squads competed against some of the top teams in the country. After the departure of the Woodard brothers many of PSU’s top returnees left the program.
Whether he likes it or not, Veney is now faced with a clean slate. But he seems ready to bring his hard work ethic and winning mentality to the cross country program at PSU this fall. Along with recruiting hard and practicing long hours, the team’s chemistry will reflect its coach.