Tribute event to beloved track & field coach slated for Sunday, March 13
And, in 1998, Jon Vochatzer's talent brought him the respect of his peers nationally when he was named to the United States coaching staff for the 1999 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Seville, Spain.
The assignment is one of the highlights of a 36-year career in coaching track and field at various levels, a span which includes directing the Aggies to 14 conference championships during his time at UC Davis. After developing a perennial challenger for the NCAA Division II Championship, Vochatzer has brought similar enthusiasm to Division I after already leading the Aggies to the elite level of the Big West Championship.
Last season, Vochatzer's Aggies made a run for the 2009 Big West Conference Championship, challenging for the top spot before finishing an impressive second in just its second appearance. Additionally, nine members of his men's team qualified for the NCAA Division I West Region Championships with two - high-hurdlers Polly Gnepa and Jazz Trice - advancing to the national finals.
In 2003, with UC Davis participating in the California Collegiate Athletic Association for its final season, Vochatzer earned CCAA Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time in five years. Before the program joined the CCAA, he also won Coach of the Year honors seven times in the now-defunct Northern California Athletic Conference.
UC Davis will begin competition at the Big West Conference championships in 2008.
Vochatzer has also earned West Region Coach of the Year honors for indoor track six times and for outdoor track on seven occasions. In both 2000 and 2001, he won that honor in both seasons. Furthermore, Vochatzter has coached 80 NCAA All-Americans, including nine national champions in his career.
A graduate of Stagg HS in Stockton, Calif., Vochatzer earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in physical education from Cal State Hayward. He played football and ran track at San Joaquin Delta College from 1966-68, then played both sports at Hayward from 1968 to 1970.
Vochatzer taught and coached at two Bay Area high schools, James Logan in Union City (1970-72) and American HS in Fremont (1972-74) before accepting an overseas assignment at Bitburg American High School in Germany, where he was head coach for both track and football from 1974-78.
Vochatzer returned stateside in 1978, where he was head football and assistant track coach at Foothill HS in Pleasanton for two years.
He was named head track and assistant football coach at UC Davis in 1979, a position he held until 1985 when he returned to Germany for a two-year stint at Nurnberg American High School, directing both the football and track programs. He returned to Davis in 1987 and since then has overseen a decade of track excellence.
He played a pivotal role in the Atlanta Olympics effort as a member of the Olympic Development Committee for the U.S. sprint team. In 1995, he was an assistant coach at the Olympic Festival and was an assistant for the World University Games in 1997.
As an instructor at UC Davis, Vochatzer has developed an array of physical education programs for mentally and physically challenged athletes. Since 1990, he has served as track and field consultant for the California Special Olympics.
Administratively, Vochatzer has served UC Davis since 1991 as a member of the Executive Council, Academic Federation and the Committee on Committees. He was also on the Public Affairs subcommittee from 1994-96.
Jon and his wife, Deanne, the women's track coach at UC Davis, reside in Davis. Vochatzer served as Competition Manager for the 2000 Olympic Track & Field Trials in Sacramento.