Already the all-time winningest track & field coach in Big Eight/Big 12 Conference history, Gary Pepin entered his 29th year of service on the University of Nebraska campus in the 2008-09 season.
Pepin began his coaching career in 1967 as an assistant coach at the University of Kansas under legendary coach Bob Timmons (USTFCCCA Class of 1997). Throughout his 29 years as the Husker coach, he has guided his teams to 64 Big Eight/Big 12 Conference titles.
Pepin, who graduated from Pittsburg High School and later Pittsburg State University, has coached more than 440 NCAA All-Americans. Since 2000, his student-athletes have combined to win 116 Big 12 and 18 NCAA individual titles. During that same time frame, his teams have combined to win 16 Big 12 indoor and outdoor track and field team championships.
Nebraska has had 11 top-ten NCAA team finishes since 2000 under Pepin’s leadership, including a tie for fourth place by the Husker women at the 2006 national championships.
In 2009, Pepin will surpass the late Frank Sevigne (USTFCCCA Class of 2004) as the longest tenured head coach in the history of the Nebraska program. Pepin is only the fourth coach to guide Nebraska’s men’s program since World War I.
Pepin’s success while at Nebraska has not gone unnoticed in the public eye as he was named the 2005 United States Track Coaches Association (now the USTFCCCA) Indoor Track and Field Midwest Region Coach of the Year, as well as the Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year.
Pepin, who came to Nebraska following the 1980 season, has won women’s conference coach of the year honors 15 of the 21 years since the conference began recognizing the award. Many of his former athletes have gone on to achieve remarkable post-collegiate careers. The most notable is Merlene Ottey, the world champion, world-record holder, and eight-time Olympic medalist. Pepin has also coached Rhonda Blanford, a four-time NCAA champion, and Dusty Jonas, a 2008 Olympic team member and NCAA Indoor champion.