Scott Slade, who was promoted to associate head coach for distance and cross country in July 2011, is in his seventh year as a member of the UTSA’s coaching staff.
This past cross country season saw the women fall just short of their first conference championship in 16 years. The closest finish in Western Athletic Conference history saw Idaho edge the Roadrunners by just three points. Alyssa Diaz (third) and Nina Herrera (seventh) both raced to first-team All-WAC laurels, while Emily Perez (11th) and Samantha Fish (13th) were second-team honorees. UTSA wrapped up its season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional, which was the program’s best showing since winning the 1996 NCAA District VI title and advancing to the national meet. Herrera (18th) and Diaz (25th) led the way with all-region performances.
Slade helped lead the UTSA men to a Southland Conference indoor/outdoor championship sweep last spring and the women recorded their best outdoor finish (second) in 15 years. He also guided Chrisshun Jamerson (indoor 800m), Dana Mecke (1,500m) and the women’s distance medley relay of Isabel Balbontin, Grace Williamson, Nina Herrera and Alyssa Diaz to league titles. All told, 11 of his athletes (six women/five men) raced to all-conference honors. Additionally, the men’s DMR of Cole Reveal, Jamerson, Brady Hand and Albert Cardenas also broke the Southland’s 16-year old record at the New Balance Invitational.
He led UTSA to its best finish in 14 years at the 2011 Southland Men’s Cross Country Championships. Albert Cardenas’ third-place performance was the best finish by a Roadrunner at the league meet since Philo Saunders’ third-place effort in 1998 and he went on to earn All-South Central Region accolades. Meanwhile, the women recorded their best showing in a dozen years and Carly Kitts was tabbed the Southland Freshman of the Year.
Slade’s runners combined to earn all-conference accolades in six events (four indoor/two outdoor) the following spring, including Cardenas, who won the indoor mile championship. Meanwhile, the DMR of Cardenas, Canel Cole, Jamerson and Mike Medrano established a new program record at the prestigious New Balance Invitational. His distance crew scored more points than any team at the Southland Indoor Championships, including a 1-2-3 finish in the mile, and that helped the Roadrunners win their league-record-tying sixth consecutive title.
That came on the heels of Reveal racing to All-South Central Region honors during the cross country season. Reveal (eighth) and Cardenas (ninth) finished among the top 10 at the Southland Cross Country Championships, which gave them all-conference honors, and that helped the Roadrunners place third for the second year in a row.
Slade’s distance runners were instrumental in UTSA’s second indoor/outdoor Southland Championship sweep in the last three seasons in 2010. The indoor campaign saw the distance medley relay team of Brandon Chiuminetta, Cole, Bryan Ugochukwu and Cardenas win the program’s fifth-ever conference crown and the Roadrunners received five other scoring performances at the meet. That effort was doubled during the Southland Outdoor, as UTSA went on to score a school-record 148 points. In fact, each distance runner accounted for points at the conference meets.
Layne Nixon led the way at the 2009 Southland Cross Country Championships, as he earned all-conference honors with his seventh-place effort. Slade also helped lead the women to a fourth-place performance that fall, giving the program its best finish since 2004. Kayla Pratt finished second, Mecke (the defending champion) placed fifth and Southland Newcomer of the Year Pernilla Savestrand crossed the tape in seventh place. Mecke and Nixon went on to pick up All-South Central Region accolades to close out the campaign.
In his first season coaching the women, Mecke became the fourth female in school history and first in a dozen years to win the Southland Cross Country Championship. She won her first seven races of the season before finishing the campaign with a 23rd-place showing at the NCAA South Central Regional, which was the highest finish by a Roadrunner in at least 12 years. The league’s Student-Athlete of the Year also was a five-time Southland Athlete of the Week honoree. Mecke went on to win Southland Indoor Championships in the 800 meters and mile in addition to running the anchor leg on UTSA’s first-place distance medley relay squad and was tabbed the meet’s Outstanding Track Performer and circuit’s Student-Athlete of the Year. Meanwhile, Pratt raced to All-America honors in the 5,000m at June’s USA Junior Championships.
On the men’s side, he helped lead the Roadrunners to their fourth consecutive Southland Indoor Championship in February 2009. Slade then guided Michael Cook to the league’s outdoor 1,500 meters title and he became the first athlete in eight years and fifth in program history to accomplish the feat. The victory gave the true freshman a spot in the NCAA Midwest Regional.
That came on the heels of a 2008 campaign that saw UTSA claim its third conference indoor crown in a row. Three months later, he was instrumental in the program’s first Southland Outdoor Championship in seven years, which resulted in the inaugural indoor/outdoor sweep in school history, the league’s first since 2004.
Slade made an immediate impact in his first year with the program, helping Larry Brooks become the first distance runner in school history to earn All-America accolades and compete at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Championships. Brooks also completed a rare double for the Roadrunners in 2007. The school record-holder in the indoor and outdoor 800 meters became just the second male athlete in school history to earn All-America accolades at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the same season, matching Justin Youngblood’s feat from 2004 (heptathlon/decathlon).
The Buffalo, N.Y., native came to UTSA after a three-year stint as the director of cross country and track & field at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, Calif. He started up Soka’s cross country and track & field programs in fall 2004. Slade also coached the 2004 Orange County Marathon Champion and the leadoff leg of the winning distance medley relay at USATF Indoor Nationals. He also founded the Pacific Throws Academy and was the co-chair of long-distance running for the Southern California USATF.
Prior to Soka, Slade was the head coach of the cross country and track & field programs from 1991-2003 at Plattsburgh State University. He was a four-time NCAA Atlantic Region Coach of the Year and two-time SUNYAC Coach of the Year. From 1989-91, Slade was an assistant cross country and track & field coach at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Slade began his coaching career in 1988 as an assistant cross country and track & field coach at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo. It was there that he served under legendary distance coach Dr. Joe Vigil, who served as the United States’ distance coach at the 1988 and 2008 Summer Olympics. In his two years, Slade helped lead the school to the 1988 and ’89 National Cross Country Championships and helped coach five distance runners who won national titles and a total of 41 All-Americans.
Slade is Level III trained in distance events by the USATF, currently is the NCAA South Central Men’s Cross Country Region Representative for the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and is a member of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Executive Committee in addition to being the South Texas USATF Coaches Advisory Chair. He also serves as meet director for the UIL Region IV Championships, as well as the Ricardo Romo Cross Country Classic, which is the largest cross country meet in the state of Texas. Slade served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2012 North American, Central American, and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships.
An All-America distance runner at the University of Buffalo, he earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 1987. Two years later, Slade received his master’s in health, physical education & recreation from Adams State College.
Slade is married to Darlene Holland.