Oct. 31, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - Rahn Sheffield, who led numerous San Diego State athletes to All-America honors during his 23-year tenure with the Aztecs program, has been named an assistant track and field coach at UC Davis where he will focus on sprints and hurdles.
Sheffield began as an assistant coach at SDSU in 1984 and then was elevated to head coach in 1991. He retired from the position in 2008 after achieving tremendous success which included 78 Aztecs qualifying for the NCAA Championships, 19 earning All-America honors and three capturing individual national championships.
Additionally, nearly 30 of his athletes competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials and four advanced to the Olympics.
"We are very pleased to be able to bring someone with the breadth and depth of Rahn's background to complete our staff for the 2013-14 year," said Aggie head coach Drew Wartenburg. "Rahn's coaching accomplishments on the regional, national and international levels will provide a valuable asset to the program. Our challenge from this point forward is to bolster the strong components of our sprint and hurdle group while also working to raise the level in areas where improvement can make an immediate impact on the overall strength of the team."
Sheffield led his team to several outstanding finishes, including the 2003 Mountain West Conference outdoor championship when the Aztecs ended BYU's 21-year championship reign. His final two seasons featured top-10 finishes at the NCAA West Regionals. Sheffield was a three-time conference coach of the year.
His expertise also extends beyond the collegiate borders with several of his athletes making names for themselves on the international stage. One of his more notable athletes was his sister, LaTanya Sheffield, who competed in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1988 Seoul Olympics during a career that spanned through the 2000 Olympic Trials.
"UC Davis has elite students," Sheffield said. "I'm here to help us have elite athletes as well. The University of California system is attractive on its own. The mental aspect is the most important part of training for an athlete. That will allow them to compete at a higher collegiate level."
Wartenburg added that Sheffield's recognition in the track and field community, particularly as a coach whose unique rotation hurdling technique has been noted by the Olympic Development Committee, will be a boost for the Aggies.
"Rahn's strong California roots will give him an unparalleled background with respect to identifying and pursuing the next classes of talent in this state, and we look forward to maintaining and building upon the strong sprint tradition here at UC Davis," he said. "From what I have learned and seen of Rahn, athletes under his guidance will work hard and aim for lofty goals in an atmosphere where high energy and commitment will remain hallmarks of the approach to all aspects of preparation and competition."
Sheffield earned his undergraduate degree from San Diego State in 1980 after enjoying a track and field career that resulted into two All-America honors.
UC Davis is currently preparing for its 2014 indoor and outdoor seasons. The Aggie women are two-time defending Big West outdoor champions.