at Brutus Hamilton Invitational
vs. Don Kirby Tailwind Open
at Payton Jordan Invitational
at Air Force Twilight Invitational
at Mountain West Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Scott Steffan is in his seventh season as assistant track and field coach at the University of New Mexico, working primarily with the pole vaulters and men's multi-event athletes. After nine successful years at the University of Virginia and Wichita State University, Steffan, an all-Western Athletic Conference decathlete for the Lobos in the late 1980s, joined fellow alums Matt and Mark Henry to help the UNM track program return to excellence.
Steffan has established one of the premier men's and women's pole vaulting programs in the nation at New Mexico. A former teammate of three-time All-American and UNM record holder Simon Arkell, Steffan rebuilt the vaulting program from the ground up after returning to his alma mater.
Under Steffan's watch, three New Mexico pole vaulters have competed at the NCAA Championships and UNM has had at least three vaulters qualify for the NCAA Regional meet each of the past four years. The Lobos have also earned all-MWC honors in the event eight times since 2003. Since 2002, UNM has boasted seven 16-foot vaulters on the men's side, including three that have cleared 17 feet and one over the 18-foot mark. Five women have surpassed the 12-foot mark, including two over 13 feet. Four have also been nationally ranked in the event by Trackwire.com.
Led by NCAA Championship qualifiers Derek Mackel and Robert Caldwell, the Lobo vaulters enjoyed their best year in 2006. Caldwell earned All-America honors with his eighth place finish at the NCAA Indoor meet, while Mackel set the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship record with a winning mark of 18-01.00 - No. 2 all-time at New Mexico.
Stunning improvement has been commonplace under Steffan, who helped Mackel go from a marginal walk-on to one of the top pole vault threats in the country, improving by over five feet during his college career. Caldwell, meanwhile, has improved by over two feet since arriving at UNM. Mackel (18-01.00), Caldwell (17-07.25 indoor) and UNM outdoor record holder Whitney Johnson (13-01.50 indoor) were three of seven Lobo pole vaulters to record career-bests in `06.
Bridgid Isworth won a pair of MWC titles (`03 indoor, `04 outdoor) for the Lobos and became the first UNM woman ever to compete in the event at the NCAA Indoor Championship meet, finishing tied for 12th in 2003.
Steffan has re-energized a dormant Lobo decathlon/heptathlon crew, developing some of the top scoring threats in the Mountain West Conference in the grueling two-day competition. After a 17-year drought, UNM has won two conference decathlon titles (2002 & `05), along with the first MWC men's heptathlon (indoor) crown in 2004. New Mexico has had at least two decathlon finalists three of the last four years. The men's multi-event athletes have also earned indoor and outdoor all-MWC honors six times since 2002.
In 2004, Mark Johnson became the first Lobo decathlete in 19 years to compete at the NCAA Championships, finishing 15th - six spots above his seed. The 2005 season gave UNM consecutive NCAA decathlon appearances for the first time in program history as Dan Feltman placed 16th - two above his seed - in his first national meet.
Steffan competed for the Lobos from 1986-91 before starting his full-time coaching career at Virginia. During his six years at Virginia, Steffan helped athletes earn All-America status in the high jump, heptathlon, decathlon, 400-meter hurdles and long jump. He also coached six Virginia school record holders and 22 Atlantic Coast Conference champions.
Steffan spent the next three years on the track and field coaching staff at Wichita State University. While at Wichita State, he coached All-Americans in the pole vault, triple jump and heptathlon, as well as four Wichita State school record holders. In each of his three seasons at WSU, Steffan's athletes finished 1-2-3 in the women's pole vault at the Missouri Valley Conference meet.
Steffan, 39, is a native of Aztec, N.M. and was an all-state football and track athlete at Aztec (N.M.) High School. He served as president of the UNM student government for three years before earning his bachelor's degree in Education from UNM in 1991. Steffan and his wife, Joanne, were married Dec. 8, 2005. The couple had their first child, Jake, on Nov. 4, 2006.