Vin Lananna is being inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame during the pinnacle of his storied career. Not only a successful coach, but also a leading administrator and organizer, Lananna has managed a decade that could be matched in the profession by few others.
In the last seven years, as head man of the University of Oregon teams, Lananna has guided the Ducks to six NCAA team titles and 13 conference championships. In addition, he has been the figurehead of many world-class events at UO’s Historic Hayward Field, including the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
He has been a driving force behind the University’s bids that landed the Trials, the 2010, 2013 and 2014 NCAA Track & Field Championships, the 2009 and 2011 USATF Championships, and the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships. Lananna also served as the head men’s coach for Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
All told, over a collegiate coaching career that has spanned more than 35 years, Lananna has led his squads to 11 national titles and 42 conference crowns.
The Men of Oregon captured NCAA titles in cross country during the 2007 and 2008 seasons and notched the indoor track & field crown in 2009. UO also won the USTFCCCA’s John McDonnell Program of the Year awards for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years.
Lananna also presided over perhaps the best individual season in the history of men’s collegiate distance running. Galen Rupp became the first person ever to win six distance national championships during the same academic year. Rupp was the 2008 NCAA individual cross country champion, the 2009 NCAA Indoor 3,000 and 5,000 meter champion, the 2009 NCAA Outdoor 5,000 and 10,000 meter champion, and anchored Oregon’s winning indoor distance medley relay team. Rupp was also the Pac-10 cross country medalist and won the league’s 10,000 meter title and capped his collegiate career by winning the title at the USA Track and Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field. Rupp was the inaugural winner of The Bowerman – an award bestowed to the most outstanding collegiate track & field athlete of the year – in 2009.
Ashton Eaton won The Bowerman in 2010 after setting the world record in the heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Oregon’s women have been on top of the headlines most recently. The Ducks are the three-time defending indoor national champions and have finished runner-up outdoors in three of the last four years. Oregon has also swept the last four USTFCCCA Terry Crawford Women’s Program of the Year awards. The most consistent figure for the Ducks during that time has been Brianne Theisen who won eight NCAA titles – including three in the indoor pentathlon and three in the outdoor heptathlon. Theisen is a finalist for The Bowerman in 2012.
Prior to his arrival at Oregon, Lananna served as athletic director at Oberlin College in Ohio. At the internationally-renowned liberal arts institution, he led the revitalization and reorganization of the department of athletics and physical education. His efforts to improve fundraising and enhance the department’s resources allowed Oberlin to increase staffing and upgrade facilities, including the construction of a new stadium for soccer, lacrosse, and track and field.
Renowned for his ability to develop talent, Lananna’s reputation as an exceptional coach was secured during his tenure as director of track and field at Stanford University from 1992 to 2003. In his time at Stanford, Lananna built one of the nation’s elite programs. His cross country and track and field teams claimed five NCAA team championships, 35 top-10 NCAA finishes, and 22 NCAA individual titles. The Cardinal men and women also won 17 Pacific-10 Conference team titles and 45 individual conference crowns in addition to 15 West Regional cross country championships. His athletes excelled in national and international competition, representing Team USA at the Olympic Games and the IAAF World Championships.
At Stanford, Lananna received three National Coach of the Year cross country honors, nine West Region Cross Country Coach of the Year awards, ten Pacific-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year honors, and two Pacific-10 Track and Field Coach of the Year awards. He also served on the NCAA Track and Field Committee from 2001-03. In 2004, Lananna traveled to Greece as an assistant coach for Team USA at the Olympic Games in Athens. He has also served as an assistant coach at the 1999 Track and Field World Championships and as head coach in the 1990 and 1996 World Championships and 1994 World Junior Championships in cross country.
Lananna’s leadership and vision for the future of track and field positioned Stanford as a destination for elite collegiate and post-collegiate competition. Athletes from across the country came to “The Farm” to participate in high performance invitationals designed to optimize athletic performance. His commitment to advancing the sport also led to the creation of a post-collegiate club team based at Stanford, and the University hosted the 2002 and 2003 USA Outdoor Championships and an annual IAAF Grand Prix meet.
Lananna arrived at Stanford after serving as assistant athletic director and head coach for cross country and track and field at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.
From 1980 until 1992, his men’s and women’s cross country teams posted a combined seven NCAA top-20 finishes—including men’s runner-up efforts in 1986 and 1987—and 37 combined All-America cross country and track and field awards. The men’s team won 13 Heptagonal League titles and the women had six runner-up finishes. In recognition of the teams’ accomplishments, he was named the 1986 NCAA Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year and was a seven- time New England Region Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year and a four-time New England Track and Field Coach of the Year.
His coaching career began in 1975 when Lananna was named head coach of cross country at his alma mater, C.W. Post in Greenvale, NY. As an athlete (1971-75), he ran cross country and track and field and was captain of the 1974 team that finished fourth in the NCAA Division II Championships. He received his master’s of arts degree from Long Island University in 1989.
Lananna and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Eugene, Ore. Their sons Brian and Scott are graduates of Dartmouth College.
USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Class of 2012 Main Page