Cliff English Named Triathlon Coach For Arizona State University

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Former USA Triathlon Elite Coach English Named Triathlon Coachf for ASU

Originally Released 10/22/2015 on

Cliff English has been named head coach for Arizona State’s inaugural women’s triathlon team, Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson announced Thursday. English, with 15 years of elite-level triathlon coaching experience, including as USA Triathlon’s Elite National Team Coach, will build the foundation of the first NCAA Power Five women’s triathlon team.

“We have made a concerted effort to bring in top-tier coaches that not only strive for excellence within the sport, but coaches that will seek to develop our student-athletes as high-integrity individuals,” said Anderson. “The depth of Coach English’s experience and his ability to coach triathletes to success at every level in the sport made it clear he was the right choice to spearhead the creation of the Sun Devil Triathlon program.”

Adding to the list of coaches at Arizona State with Olympic experience, English has coached triathletes at the last three summer games in Athens, Beijing and most recently London. In both 2008 and 2012, English was an advisor and then personal coach to four-time U.S. Olympian Hunter Kemper, who finished the Beijing Games triathlon in 2008 with an Olympic career-best seventh place finish. Under English, Kemper distinguished himself as an elite athlete winning his seventh career USA Triathlon Elite National title, and finished on the podium at more than 15 races between 2011 and 2013. In 2015 alone, English’s athletes have won an Ironman, two half-Ironman races, and two other triathlon competitions.

“I was thrilled to hear that my coach of six years, Cliff English, is the new head coach of women’s triathlon at Arizona State University,” said Kemper. “The Sun Devil women’s triathlon team is very fortunate to have a coach that is so positive, knowledgeable, and hardworking, as they strive to bring championships to Tempe. It is evident that Arizona State is committed to excellence and I applaud their decision to be the first Division I (Power Five) program to add women’s triathlon.”

In addition to Kemper, English has coached two World Championship medalists, a silver medalist at the Pan American Games, three International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup champions and 10 top-five finishers, and a 2006 ITU World Team Relay Championship title team. In long course triathlon, English coached Samantha McGlone to the 2006 Ironman70.3 World Championship, triathlete Tim O’Donnell to the 2009 ITU Long Course World Championship, and he has coached dozens of Ironman and Ironman 70.3 race medalist, including eight Ironman winners and over 30 Ironman 70.3 pro victories.

“Cliff English is an accomplished coach in the sport, and Arizona State and its athletes will benefit from his expertise,” said Rob Urbach, USA Triathlon CEO. “Cliff has worked with athletes at a variety of distances and formats, including Olympians and Ironman champions, and this will translate well for developing emerging talent at the NCAA level as the sport continues to gain momentum within the NCAA landscape.”

“The chance to build an emerging NCAA triathlon program at Arizona State is an amazing opportunity, not only as the next step in my career, but for the sport of triathlon,” said English. “I have been involved with the triathlon community for over 25 years and have seen the changes, successes and challenges as the sport continues to grow. I want to thank Ray Anderson, Deana Garner-Smith and Rocky Harris for the ability to build an NCAA team and help lead the charge in the evolution of the sport of triathlon.”

English, alongside Sun Devil Athletics’ Senior Women’s Administrator (SWA) Deana, will seek to expand and enhance the experiences of women and girls through all facets of sports, and to use the platform to motivate and empower female student-athletes and to train future coaches.

In April, Sun Devil Athletics was one of 10 NCAA schools to receive the multi-year Women’s Triathlon Emerging Sport Grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The grant was created to drive the establishment of NCAA women’s varsity triathlon programs. ASU is the first NCAA Power-Five conference school to officially adopt the sport of triathlon. Along with the 10 grant recipients, 12 NCAA schools pledged their intention to sponsor varsity triathlon, including several Pac-12 institutions, by signing the NCAA Emerging Sport proposal.

The sport of triathlon is growing exponentially with annual membership in USA Triathlon increasing from 127,824 in 1999 to nearly 500,000 annual and one-day members. Among women, USA Triathlon has seen over 450 percent growth in the sport with annual and one-day memberships over the last 15 years with current athletes numbering around 190,000. In 2000, triathlon became an Olympic sport during the Sydney Games.

Arizona State previously adopted the emerging sports of water polo and beach volleyball, which now have accumulated the 40-plus NCAA member institutions to elevate the sports to full varsity championship status.

Arizona State previously adopted the emerging sports of water polo and beach volleyball, which now have accumulated the 40-plus NCAA member institutions to elevate the sports to full varsity championship status.



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