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Taking Stock: How Arizona track & field is looking under coach Fred Harvey

arizona-wildcats-fred-harvey-track-field-stock-analysis-program-2019 Courtesy Arizona Athletics

It may seem like college sports are always going on, but July (and early August) is the one time of the year when no Arizona Wildcats teams are in action. Yep, we’re as sad about that as you are.

Before you know it, the 2019-20 seasons will be under way for Arizona’s 19 men’s and women’s sports. But in the meantime, now is the perfect opportunity to assess how each of these programs are doing.

Over the next few weeks we’ll break down each team and evaluate how it is performing under its current coaching staff, looking at the state of the program before he/she arrived and comparing it to now (as well as looking into the near future).

Next up: Fred Harvey’s track and field teams.

How it looked before

While Harvey didn’t become Arizona’s head coach until 2002-03, he was part of the track staff for another 15 years before that. Previous coach Dave Murray ran things for 35 years, and the transition from him to Harvey was a seamless one.

Harvey’s official title is Director of Cross Country and Track & Field, though his primary coaching duties are with the track squad. He earned $150,000 during the 2018-19 school year.

Where things stand now

With so many athletes and so few scholarships to parse out, track & field might be the most difficult college sport to compete in as a team. The NCAA only allows 12.6 scholarships apiece for the men’s and women’s squads, both of which have 40 or more members each season.

With that being said, the fact Arizona routinely finishes in the top three or four of the conference is a testament to how diverse the squads have been. The 2019 Wildcats hosted the Pac-12 Championships in May, with the mens’s squad placing third and the women’s team finishing seventh.

At the NCAA meet, sophomore Jordan Geist was third in the men’s shot put, earning All-America honors, the same distinction given to junior Karla Teran for her fifth-place finish in the women’s high jump. They were the 44th man and 36th woman, respectively, to be an All-American during Harvey’s tenure.

One big question

Would better facilities help? Drachman Stadium, located southeast of campus (and adjacent to Mulcahy Stadium, where soccer plays), opened in 1981. And a quick look at the facility shows that it’s nearing 40 years old.

While it still hosts a slew of events each year, including the Pac-12 championships this past season, it’s badly in need of a major overhaul. It pales in comparison to track & field complexes at other schools in the league like those at Oregon, Washington and elsewhere.