Maurica Powell, the assistant track coach for the Ducks, was named as the first director of the track and field and cross-country programs at UW. Her husband, Andy Powell, will be the head coach of both track and field as well as cross-country for the Huskies.
Washington dipped into the distance-running program at rival Oregon to find two coaches to command both the cross-country and track programs for the Huskies.
Maurica Powell, the assistant track coach for the Ducks, was named Monday by UW athletic director Jen Cohen as the first director of the track and field and cross-country programs at UW. She will oversee all facets of both programs.
Her husband, Andy Powell, will be the head coach of both track and field as well as cross-country for the Huskies. He was the associate coach for track in Eugene.
“Their credentials certainly speak for themselves,” Cohen said of the pair, who have been with the Ducks the past 13 years, “and what really stood out during the search process was their deep alignment with our departmental values. Maurica and Andy carry a deep passion for developing student-athletes to be their best both in and outside of competition and I am extremely excited for them to lead our program.”
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The Powells concentrated on distance running at Oregon, and were part of the men’s and women’s track and cross-country programs that produced 19 NCAA titles in their 13 years in Eugene.
In addition to overseeing all the programs, Maurica will coach the women distance runners for UW.
The Powells were both standout runners at Stanford and headed to Eugene to start their coaching careers in 2005. There they worked with their former Cardinal coach, Vin Lananna.
“We are thankful to Vin Lananna and the University of Oregon staff for a great 13 years in Eugene, and we are honored and humbled by the chance to build the next chapter of success on Montlake,” the Powells said in a joint statement.
Maurica was named the national women’s cross-country coach of the year in 2016 after leading the Ducks to their second NCAA title in five years. Andy has been named top national assistant coach four different times.
In 2012-13, the Ducks reached the pinnacle under the direction of the Powells, winning the women’s cross-country as well as the indoor and outdoor track titles.
Among the men, Andy coached Oregon’s Edward Cheserek to an NCAA-record 17 titles. He also coached multiple NCAA champs Galen Rupp, Andrew Wheating and Matthew Centrowitz.
“Andy and Maurica Powell are phenomenal coaches and incredible people,” said Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic 1,500 gold medalist who ran at Oregon from 2007-11. “They will work tirelessly to foster an exciting culture and develop high-level student-athletes at the University of Washington.
“I cannot say enough about the impact they’ve had on me as an athlete, and as a man. … Andy Powell has been a huge influence in my life since I was 17 years old, and the time and attention he paid to me as a college athlete truly shaped my athletic career.”
Robert Johnson, the director of the track programs at UO, congratulated the pair.
“We are very excited for Maurica and Andy and this tremendous opportunity,” Johnson said. “They have been a huge part of this program’s success over the past 13 years, and we are extremely grateful for all they have done for the Ducks.”
The vacancy with the UW programs was created when Greg Metcalf resigned in May following allegations of mistreatment by current and former distance runners. Metcalf, a former Husky, coached 16 years with UW and captured the women’s NCAA cross-country crown in 2008. In 2016, he was named the Pac-12 men’s track coach of the year.