On Friday, The Stride Report confirmed that Andrew Ferris has been hired as the next head distance coach at UCLA. He will be joined by assistant distance coach Delaney Rasmussen, a former Northern Arizona runner and the previous distance coach at Sacramento State. Rasmussen has already been working with the UCLA men and women for the last couple of months.
UCLA's move to hire a new distance coach comes months after the Bruins parted ways with their former distance coach, Sean Brosnan. As a result of Brosnan leaving, numerous top-level distance talents who had joined (or were about to join) the Los Angeles-based program ventured elsewhere.
Those names included Ronan McMahon-Staggs, Mia Barnett, Dalia Frias, Sam McDonnell and McKaylie Caesar. Top steeplechase standout Peter Herold also transferred out of the program to be a graduate student at Georgetown, although that move came prior to the departure of Sean Brosnan.
Ferris comes to UCLA with a diverse coaching background, significant experience and a proven history of being a top-tier recruiter. His first collegiate stop came at Wake Forest in 2017 as the Australian joined Coach John Hayes who had been hired the year prior to become the program's newest Director of Track & Field and Cross Country.
While working alongside Hayes and fellow assistants, Ferris played a massively critical role in helping the Wake Forest men evolve into a nationally competitive power.
Ferris' recruiting efforts allowed the North Carolina-based program to land numerous top-level distance stars. That included All-American standouts such as Zach Facioni, Thomas Vanoppen, Aaron Las Heras and Luke Tewalt among many other high-quality distance talents.
In 2021, Ferris ventured to New York where he became the assistant distance coach at Iona, historically one of the NCAA's top mid-major cross country programs.
Despite the Gaels undergoing a roster rebuild, we did see top names such as Ehab El-Sandali, Jamie Dee, Ed Goddard (whose best marks came overseas) and Mael Gouyette (who just had a huge summer of racing) come out of the program with highly impressive marks.
By accepting the new distance coaching role at UCLA, Ferris will be tasked with rebuilding a program that just had a mass exodus of talent depart from both their men's and women's rosters. Luckily, the Aussie's extensive history of recruiting success suggests that he can help the Bruins evolve into a nationally competitive distance program in a few years time.