Rams’ head coach to lead women’s throwers
Rams work toward continued success
Rams begin competition Thursday
Coach leads women's team on historic campaign
Sophomore reaches final in shot put
CSU Fum McGraw Quadrangular - photos by Don Reichert
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Coach Brian Bedard is entering his 9th year as the Rams Head Coach, and his 26th season as a track coach for Colorado State University. During his coaching tenure, Colorado State track and field athletes have won many honors, including the history-making women's victory at the 2008 Mountain West Conference (MWC) Outdoor Championship, the first ever outdoor title in school history. The Rams nearly repeated the effort in the 2014 MWC Outdoor Championships leading the meet until the final two events taking second to UNM. In 2014 the men's team had a runner-up finish in both the indoor and outdoor MWC Championships. The 2014 women's squad had a strong 3rd place finish at the Outdoor Championships and is poised to make a run at the title this season.
Bedard has been on the Rams coaching staff since the fall of 1988 when he began his career as the throwing events coach. He was honored as the Mountain Region and NCAA Division I Assistant Coach of the Year in 2005. He has coached two Olympians, 2 x USA National discus champion, two NCAA Champions, 36 All-American performances, and 59 conference champions. All of Colorado State's school records in the throwing events have been set during Bedard's tenure. In 2005, Bedard was inducted into the Colorado State University Hall of Honor for his accomplishments as a coach. His most recent coaching honor came in the 2013 season winning the USTFCCCA Women's Midwest Region Head Coach of the year award.
The women's team placed 4th at the MWC indoor meet and 3rd at the Outdoor MWC meet, while the men were MWC runner-up indoors and outdoors. CSU qualified 23 athletes to the NCAA West Preliminary Meet in 2014 and many of those athletes return this year. Bedard feels, "With this year's signing class I'm extremely excited about what our teams can do this season. On paper it's one of the best signing classes we've put together, now the athletes need to come in and live up to those expectations."
The CSU Track and Cross Country teams have a tradition of academic success under Bedard's leadership. Last season the Ram's earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors in men's and women's Cross Country and Track and Field. Both, the men's and women's Cross Country teams earned a cumulative GPA of 3.4 for the 2014 season. The women's track team had a 3.30 cumulative GPA and the men's team earned a 3.18 GPA to qualify for team selection. Bedard supports and strives for high academic standards with his teams and celebrates those academic achievements equally with athletic achievement. The teams also achieved 34 Academic All-Conference Awards in the 2014 season. Twelve Rams were named to the USTFCCCA Outstanding Academic Achievement recognition for academic excellence. To cap off the season Christian Meyer earned the MWC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. This summer, Rams distance runner Chloe Phillips and Christian Meyer were each awarded a $7,500 NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship.
Bedard's most recent season boasts five Mountain West Conference Champions and three All-Americans. Aaliyah Pete was the Junior National runner-up in the shot and Junior World Championship qualifier. Kiah Hicks was a 2nd Team All-American in the 20# weight indoors and All-American in the discus outdoors. Jessica Sharbono became the MWC Champion in the discus with a new conference record and she recorded one of the longest discus throws in the country at 193'. The men's squad was dominant in the throws finishing 1-2-3 in the 35# weight throw at the MWC meet. The Rams had 8 throwers qualify for the NCAA First Round Meet.
Coach Bedard's expertise extends well beyond the throwing events. For three seasons he coached the long jump and triple jump events at CSU and was also the heptathlon/decathlon coordinator for 10 seasons. He coached Liz Toman to a school record, conference championship, and NCAA qualifying mark in the high jump. In the multi-events Bedard coached conference champions in the decathlon, and CSU records in the heptathlon and women's triple jump.
One of Coach Bedard's most successful athletes is Casey Malone, a discus thrower he originally recruited from Colorado's Arvada West High School. Bedard and Malone have worked together for over 16 years and in 2010 Casey won his second discus title at the USA Championships. In 2009 Casey also won the discus title earning a spot on the US team competing at the World Championships placing 5th. In 2008 Casey placed 3rd at the Olympic Trials, securing a spot on the United States Olympic Team that competed in Beijing. Malone also made the U.S. Olympic Team in 2004 and placed 5th in the discus competition at the Athens Olympics. In 1996, when Malone was a freshman at Colorado State, Bedard coached him to a Junior National title and a Junior World Championship gold medal. In all during his collegiate career, Malone garnered four All-American certificates and an NCAA title in the discus. He currently owns the Colorado State University school record in the discus at 211 ft. 6 in. Casey continued to improve under Bedard's coaching reaching a personal best 68.49m or 224'7".
Another of Bedard's standout throwers is Loree Smith, the 2005 NCAA National Champion hammer thrower, who was also the runner-up in the indoor weight throw and a five-time All-American. Loree set the American collegiate record in the indoor weight throw with a mark of 74 ft. 3 in. during the 2005 indoor season. Loree also set an NCAA collegiate record in the hammer throw at the MWC Championships with a throw of 229 ft. 9 in. (70.02 m). Smith earned a spot on the United States Olympic Team in 2008 and competed in the hammer throw in the Beijing Olympics.
Many other athletes have enjoyed tremendous success under Coach Bedard's guidance. He coached Shelly Borrman, a Fort Collins native and five-time All-American and 1999 NCAA discus runner-up, who still owns the Colorado State school record and Western Athletic Conference (WAC) record in the discus with a throw of 198 ft. 8 in. Another discus thrower, Liz Toman, placed second in the 2001 NCAA National Championships. Drew Loftin was the 2003 NCAA indoor runner-up in the weight throw and outdoor runner-up in the hammer. Loftin threw 71 ft. 1.5 in. in the weight throw and 232 ft. in the hammer while competing for the Rams. Bedard has been working with Drew Loftin after a five year lay-off from throwing and Loftin placed 5th in the hammer at the 2012 Olympic Trials, and 4th at the 2013 USA Championships.
Coach Bedard has shared his coaching expertise as a featured speaker at numerous conferences and clinics across the country. He has also developed two instructional DVD's on discus throwing technique, which are available through Championship Books and Videos. Before he began his coaching career, Bedard was a student-athlete in track and field at Colorado State University from 1983-88. He finished as the Western Athletic Conference runner-up in the discus and placed eighth in the shot put.
Bedard is married to Jill Bedard (formerly Johnson) a Colorado State University Hall of Fame inductee and volleyball standout from 1987-90. They have two daughters, 18-year-old Kelcey and 16-year-old Baylee. Kelcey will be joining the Rams this season to work with her father in the throwing events.
"Our staff is working hard to recruit athletes that can score in more than one event area, have outstanding character and exceptional work ethic. The staff is looking for the best athletes in the region that fit our program's philosophy. I'm excited to see this talented group of freshman begin their careers at Colorado State University. With this recruiting class and the record number of athletes that qualified for the NCAA West meet it gives us a good indication of the potential of this team. Our staff believes we can win the MWC this season!"
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