OGDEN -- Longtime Weber State women's track and field head coach Jim Blaisdell has announced his retirement after a long and successful career with the Wildcats.
Blaisdell will retire following the 2014 track season, which will be his 33rd year as head coach at Weber State.
Blaisdell, 68, came to Weber State as the head women's track and field coach in 1981 and has also served as the Director of Track and Field for the Wildcats since 2006. He was also the WSU women's cross country coach for 26 years. He has coached more than 1,000 athletes in his time at Weber State.
"I've been coaching for nearly 40 years, with six years at Southern Idaho and 33 years at Weber State," Blaisdell said. "I was a competitor for 10 years before that, so for nearly 50 years of my life I've been involved with track and field and it has been quite a trip. Weber State has been such a great place to spend a major portion of my life and the hundreds of girls that have gone through the program will always bring fond memories for me."
"You set goals in life and retirement is certainly a major goal and then you get there and it's exciting, but the trip is where the enjoyment really is," Blaisdell continued. "All the experiences that get you to the goal are the things you remember and cherish."
Blaisdell has led Weber State to 18 Big Sky Conference championships in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. He has also guided the Wildcats to 31 second place finishes in conference meets.
He has led WSU to nine Big Sky Indoor Championships, capturing titles in 1984, 1991, 1992, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012 and finished second nine times. WSU still holds the conference record by winning four-straight conference titles from 2002-05.
The Wildcats have won five outdoor titles under his watch with wins in 1992, 1993, 1998, 2000, and 2002. WSU has also finished second 10 times in outdoor track and field. In 2002 the Wildcats set a Big Sky record with 242 points in route to winning the conference title by 111 points, also a conference record.
In cross country Weber State has won four titles under Blaisdell, 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2006 and have finished second 12 times. He led the Wildcats to a top 10 finish in the NCAA Cross Country Mountain Region Championships in 25 of 26 meets, and finished in the top five 14 times.
From 1990-2007, a span of 50 conference championships in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track, Weber State finished first or second 42 times.
Blaisdell has been named Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year 18 times during his career at WSU and been honored as the District VII Coach of the Year four times. Blaisdell has served as the Mountain Region Cross Country representative for the NCAA for two terms and served until 2009 as the Big Sky Conference Track and Field representative on the executive committee of the track and field coaches association.
He has coached numerous All-Conference athletes and 28 All-Americans. A total of 16 of his All-Americans came from Utah. The 800 meter runners have especially excelled at Weber State under Coach Blaisdell. A total of 22 Big Sky individual titles in the 800 meters have been achieved by Weber State student-athletes in indoor and outdoor track since 1983.
"Jim Blaisdell is a great example of what it means to coach and work at Weber State," said WSU director of athletics Jerry Bovee. "He has been a terrific leader and mentor to more than 1,000 athletes. He has done wonderful things for Weber State and has left the track and field program in a great place. Jim will always be a Wildcat."
Prior to coming to Weber State, Blaisdell coached at the College of Southern Idaho for six years and coached numerous Junior College All-Americans. One of those All-Americans was Paul Pilkington, a former Weber State runner and the current cross country and distance coach. He also was an assistant basketball coach for three years at Southern Idaho.
Blaisdell competed in track and field at BYU where he earned All-American honors in the long jump in 1968. He still ranks second in BYU history in the long jump.
A native of Malad, Idaho, Blaisdell has been married to Cathy Heaton for 45 years and together they are the parents of six children and have 16 grandchildren. Two of Coach Blaisdell's daughters ran track for their father, Michelle (1989-92) and Danielle (1998-2004).