After a great run, Head Cross Country Coach Alicia Longyear is stepping down from the helm and making way for veteran Citrus Assistant Coach Alan Waddington. Waddington, a long time presence on the Citrus Cross Country teams, takes over the Head Coach position after helping with the program for over a decade. Longyear will now focus on her main role in the Athletics/Kinesiology Department as the Athletics Counselor. Waddington, who also plays several key roles in the Citrus Performing Arts Department, is the natural choice for a predecessor to Longyear, given his years of experience in the community college athletics scene and expertise in the craft of distance running.
Although Citrus loses Longyear as a head coach, she is far from done making a positive impact on Citrus College student athletes. Assistant Athletics Director Andrew Wheeler has worked with Coach Longyear since her first season at Citrus. "Alicia helped to continue to grow our cross country program over the last several years. She provided a unique touch to the program, and each of our student-athletes who were a part of the program, were better off for it. Alicia will be missed as a part of the cross country program, but we're lucky that she will continue to serve our student-athletes as our Athletic Counselor."
Longyear vacates her position after a successful run at the helm of the Cross Country programs. Longyear's tenure as the Head Coach began in 2013, when she took over for then coach Nicki Shaw, and Waddington was already an assistant at that time.
When asked about her time as the leader of the program and her departure, Longyear had this to say: "It was a really difficult decision to make, I seriously went back and forth daily. But in the end, it is was is best for my family. I walked away from coaching before, when my kids were born, got back into it when they were toddlers, and now as their own extracurricular sports activities have become more demanding, I feel like it is time to be more available to support their goals. Who knows, I might get back into coaching once my kids are running cross country in high school!"
We asked Coach Longyear what she'll miss the most. "I will miss the people, my assistant coach Alan especially. We have always had an amazing partnership and understanding. Running with him daily for the past five years was the best therapy that money could never buy.
"I will also miss having close relationships to my athletes, many of them I feel like they were my own children. Special bonds are formed from running hundreds and sometimes even thousands of miles together."
Coach Waddington, who has helped lead the Citrus distance runners to multiple state finals appearances and a Tour de Cuesta win, has already established himself as a respected coach amongst the Citrus college family and California Community College athletics. "Alan will be a rock star as the head coach, as he is in everything he puts his energy into. Alan cares so much about shaping the athlete as a whole person while instilling a lifelong love of distance running." Coach Longyear added.
"Alan is super organized, he is always making to do lists, living off his calendar, and planning way in advance. Alan has many key roles in the Performing Arts department at Citrus College so his daily schedule is very jam-packed but he has endless amounts of energy and uses each minute to the fullest. Alan is very outgoing and friendly and has connections at the local high schools to help with recruiting. Hosting the WSC Finals will be a breeze for Coach Alan, after all he puts on elaborate music and theater performances almost every weekend in the Haugh Performing Arts Center. Alan is a dedicated runner, usually averaging anywhere between 50 to 100 miles per week (every week) depending on his training plan. He completes every workout with the athlete, sometimes even ahead of the athlete, he is truly an inspiration to all runners."
Needless to say, Coach Waddington is a well respected and worthy predecessor to Coach Longyear, and the Athletics Department is thrilled to have him on as a Head Coach.
Wheeler added this about Coach Waddington, "Alan provides the program some much needed continuity moving forward. As a member of the cross country staff for nearly a decade, Alan has helped maintain a standard of professionalism and success for our student-athletes. Knowing how much of a dreamer and an outside the box thinker Alan is, I know that moving forward our program is in good hands."