Michigan coach Ron Warhurst led the men’s track and field team to a surprising Big Ten Championship last spring.
“I’m giddy,” Warhurst said after the meet. “I’m tired and exhausted.”
It was his first conference title as head coach. It will also be his last.
Yesterday, Warhurst stepped down as head coach and turned over the job to associate head coach Fred LaPlante. Warhurst will move into the associate head coach role vacated by LaPlante.
LaPlante was head coach at Southern Cal, San Diego State and Lehigh before coming to Michigan 11 years ago to coach the Wolverine sprinters.
In recent years, under LaPlante’s tutelage, the program’s top runners have been sprinters. Last season, he was named the Great Lakes Regional Assistant Coach of the Year.
“I’ve known him for 30 years,” Warhurst said. “He’s a fantastic communicator, a great organizer. It’s just a natural slide. I count on him and Coach (David) Kaiser as co-coaches anyway.”
As associate head coach, Warhurst will focus on training the distance runners and continue to coach men’s cross country.
“I figured it was time,” Warhurst said. “Jeez, I’m 65 years old, I could retire, practically. But I don’t want to, I want to keep coaching distances.”
The veteran coach said he also wants to spend more time at home with his six-year-old son.
Warhurst, who has coached at Michigan for 35 years, took over the track program nine years ago. He is one of a handful of coaches in the nation who was a head coach for both cross country and track and field teams.
But that doesn’t mean Warhurst is anywhere close to retirement. He hopes to continue for at least 10 more years.
“Oh God, I’ll be 75,” Warhurst said. “I’ll outlast everyone by that point. I’ve been here 35 years. I’m senior by 10 years to any coach or administrator.”