Senon “Baldy” Castillo served as an assistant track & field coach at Arizona State University from 1949-53 and as head coach from 1953-79. During his 27 years as head coach at ASU, he coached 13 Olympic performers, 34 All Americans, and ten national champions.
Castillo first attracted attention as a multi-sports star at Phoenix Union High School and Phoenix College. He demonstrated his coaching and recruiting skills soon after becoming Arizona State’s head coach in 1953. His first squad won the conference championship and his 1954 team repeated that performance. By that time, the Sun Devils had gained recognition as one of the nation’s premier programs.
In 1963, Castillo’s mile relay team, composed of Mike Barrick, Henry Carr, Ron Freeman, and Ulis Williams, broke the world record in that event with a time of 3:04.5. However,Castillo’s crowning achievement came in 1977 when his team won the NCAA national championship.
The extent of his team’s dominance was evident when every athlete returned from the 1977 Penn Relays with a first place watch on his wrist. He received National Coach of the Year honors when his team won the National Championships in 1977, and he was named District VII coach of the year twice. Under his tutelage, quarter miler Maurice Peoples produced the fastest mile relay split ever, running 43.2.
Castillo is a member of the Arizona State Athletics Hall of Fame and the Drake Relays Hall of Fame. He now serves as a special projects coordinator for the Arizona State athletic department and is ASU’s executive director of the Varsity "A" Association, an organization consisting of past Sun Devil letter winners. He also has a meet named after him. ASU’s Baldy Castillo Invitational has been hosted by the Sun Devils since 1997 (the 20th anniversary of ASU’s NCAA Championship.)