Nooney Named Chico State Women's Track & Field Coach

Sep 19, 2013 3:53 PM

By Luke Reid - Sports Information Director (

Robert Nooney ascended the collegiate coaching ranks quickly. Wednesday, when Chico State Director of Athletics Anita Barker named Nooney the Wildcats' women's track & field coach, he landed in the position he's always dreamed of.

A California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Champion and All-American decathlete for the Wildcats in 2008, Nooney spent last season as the interim head women's & men's track & field coach the Colorado School of Mines. Prior to that, he served as an assistant coach for one season as an assistant at Mines and three seasons at Division II track & field power Central Missouri.

"This is a special homecoming," said Nooney. "Chico is such an incredible place. It doesn't take long before it feels like home. A lot of people leave Chico with the thought they want to get back, but not many actually get the chance.

"I'm grateful to Anita and the committee for giving me this chance and to work in such an outstanding and successful department. I'm looking forward to building on the foundation of success laid down by Coach (Kirk) Freitas and (Oliver) Hanf – two men I hold in high regard. As a product of their coaching and mentoring and as an alum of this program, I have extremely high expectations."

Nooney led Colorado School of Mines track & field to one of the best indoor and outdoor campaigns in school history last year. His indoor men's squad was ranked as high as 10th nationally and the women 27th, and five of his athletes earned All-America honors.

Nine Orediggers qualified for the NCAA Championships and 20 were named Academic All-Conference during the outdoor season.

Nooney spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Central Missouri prior to his arrival at Colorado School of Mines and mentored a pair of national champions. Darius Walker won the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon in 2010 and Brent Vogel claimed a national title in the decathlon at the 2011 outdoor championships.

"Robert is one of the top young coaches in collegiate track & field and we're very excited to have him back in Chico," said Barker. "He has a strong understanding of the Division II philosophy and our overall goals for student-athletes both academically and athletically. It's great to see our athletes go on to have success in their professions, and it's even better when we have a chance to bring them back home.

Nooney is genuinely excited as well.

"I can't say enough what a tremendous opportunity this is. Chico State is the complete package. It's a great school in a beautiful area," he said. "Oliver has really built the women's program into a powerhouse in the CCAA. I just want to build on that tradition and really help to push the program to the next level."

A 2008 graduate of Chico State, Nooney was twice crowned All-CCAA in the decathlon, winning the conference title during his senior season en route to earning All-America distinction.

Before transferring to Chico State, Nooney competed at Santa Barbara City College for two seasons and won a conference championship in the decathlon, earning All-State honors in 2006.

A native of Lompoc, California, Nooney has both his USATF Level 1 Coaching Certificate. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from Chico State in 2008 and went on to complete a master's degree in Biomechanics during his time at Central Missouri.

He and his wife Kelli were married in June.


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