Jose Luiz Barbosa named UC Davis head cross country coach

Sept. 6, 2017

DAVIS, Calif. — Jose Luiz Barbosa, a Brazilian native and former Olympic 800-meter distance runner, joins the UC Davis cross country team this week as head coach for the 2017 season. 

Before becoming a coach following his retirement from World Class competition in 2000, Barbosa unquestionably made a name for himself as a high-level track athlete, participating in four consecutive Olympic Games: 1984 in Los Angeles, USA, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, 1992 in Barcelona, Spain, and in 1996 in Atlanta, USA. 

To add to his list of athletic accomplishments, he won first-place titles at the 1986 Grand Prix Circuit of Athletes in Italy, 1987 World Indoor Track and Field Championship in Indianapolis, USA, and at the 1995 Pan American Games in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. In 1991, he was ranked number one in the world in the 800 meters, and also placed second at the World Track and Field Championship in Tokyo, Japan that year.

“I know this is a big step for the UC Davis cross country team. Barbosa has qualified to the Olympic team four times, competed at the World Championships four times and medaled, and in 1991, he had the fastest 800 meter time in the world.” UC Davis track and field head coach Rahn Sheffield said. “This is a guy that is going to bring quality to this program. With Barbosa, we have an even better chance of reaching those goals of getting more people to the national level.”

Aside from his immediate participation in athletics, he coached the cross country and track teams at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, Calif. for four seasons (2010-2014). Starting in 2015, he became the head coach of the cross country and track distance teams at San Diego Mesa Junior College in San Diego, Calif.

In 2016, while at Mesa College, Brazilian hurdler Joao Oliveira left his home in Brazil to receive personal training by Barbosa, who saw Oliveira’s potential to become an Olympian despite popular belief back home. Those doubts were eventually shut down when Oliveira returned to Brazil as a qualifier to the 2016 Rio Games. 

Outside the realm of track and cross country, Barbosa was a three-year (2008-2010) personal conditioning coach for Leandro Barbosa, a NBA player on the Phoenix Suns during those years.

The former Olympian earned a degree in Physical Education and a certification in strength training and conditioning for world-class athletes at Centro Universitario das Faculdades Metropolitanas Unidas in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2008. His certification in strength training and conditioning focused on topics such as endurance/stamina training, interval training, flexibility improvement, aerobic and anaerobic improvement, mental focus improvement, and enhanced bio-mechanics. 

Barbosa’s coaching style emphasizes the importance of finding ways to maximize training conditions and techniques that will help each athlete to reach their highest potential in both sports performance and personal character development, as well as promoting ideals that will positively influence each athlete’s sports longevity and injury prevention in relation to their increased athletic performance. 

UC Davis started the cross country season with a women’s team win at the Aggie Open, as well individual first place wins on both squads over Sacramento State. The Aggies’ next race will take place at the Riverside Invitational in Riverside, Calif., on Sept. 16.

ABOUT UC DAVIS: Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. UC Davis ranks as one of 15 public four-year colleges with high graduation rates leading to high incomes, according to the College Scorecard issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

— #GoAgs —