Volume 96, Issue 1

Thursday, May 23, 2002
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Formal complaint 'withdrawn'

Now I'm a be-leafer

Varsity reaction

The secret to success of Ontario's finest coaches

Track coaching queen

Track coaching queen

Vickie Croley

-Western Mustangs track and field coach
-Former track and field star at McMaster University in the long jump, hurdles, sprints (200m and 400m) and heptathalon

Western Mustangs track and field coach Vickie Croley is taking a year-long leave of absence beginning in September. Does she ever deserve it.

Croley led her women's squad to a Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship – the team's first since the 1982-83 season.

Before she escaped our grasp The Gazette caught up with the Ontario University Athletics and CIS track and field Coach of the Year to learn about her season of seasons.

Beth Kerim/Gazette
Vickie Crowley's coaching led her squad to the front of the pack last season.

What does it mean to be named CIS Track and Field Coach of the Year?

"I was especially honoured to receive the award because it was voted on by my peers and colleagues – people I have a great deal of respect for. It also means a lot because it came after winning the national championship. But I have to attribute the award to all of the assistant coaches who volunteered their time to the program, as well as the outstanding leadership from our captains [Abigail Tulloch, Kate Saunders, Chris Williams and Preston Haynes]."

What does it take to be a great university track and field coach?

"It's critical to understand that your athletes are under pressures regarding academics and time management. The communication lines need to be open to set team and individual goals, and co-ordinating all the athletes and assistant coaches is the key to having it all come together."

Did you ever envision this year's women's squad being so successful?

"I knew we would be a solid team, but initially I didn't know we would be this successful. Fortunately, the two Kate's [Vermuelen and Forbes] bonded and put the other athletes in positions where they could excel."

How difficult will it be coaching women in category one [full funding] and men in category two [partial funding] under the new athletic model at Western?

"I don't like what happened, but I won't let it affect my athletes. We're not going to change the way we coach – I'm a coach of athletes, not women.

How did the team accomplish what it did without 2000-01 star member Jessica Zelinka?

"Without Jessica, it gave other girls the opportunity to shine. It just changed the team dynamic."

– Jordan Bell

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Copyright The Gazette 2002