Patrick Cunniff enters his sixth season as the head cross country coach and assistant track & field coach at Long Beach State.
July 13, 2012
1. Can you detail your coaching path to Long Beach State?
I became a volunteer assistant at the University of Texas, then moved to TCU for two years as Cross Country and Distance Coach and now I've been at THE BEACH for five years, which seems amazing to me.
2. Beyond winning a championship, what are your goals for the upcoming season?
Qualify individuals or a team to the NCAA Finals. It's a step our program is ready to make, and we were so close last year, but it is incredibly hard from our region.
3. Who is an exciting new player we will see on you team next season?
For the women, Caitlin Turner from Thousand Oaks High School and Meghan Foley from Orange Coast College are two of our best recruits ever, and both should be competitive for us. For the men, Chris Low from College of the Canyons as a two-time state 800m champion, and to put him together with Matt Maldonado and Gabe Hilbert is really exciting. He is DI national level walking in the door.
4. What is your recruiting philosophy?
Find good kids and good students that WANT to be at Long Beach State. We have a great team and a great university. The athletes that see that and appreciate it are the ones who succeed best here.
5. How important are the summer months to the development of your team?
For cross country it is enormously important. Once we report in August, we only have 11 weeks to Big West and 13 to NCAA Regionals, so they have to be fit when we meet. Summer is also great because any kid can go home, work their butt off and come back at a whole new level. Michelle Thompson really did that last year and ended up fifth in the Big West.
6. If someone asked you for a recommendation where to eat in the Long Beach area, where would you send them and what would you tell them to order?
Taco Surf for fish tacos. I also just had a great meal at Fuego over by the Queen Mary.
7. Outside of coaching and sports, what are your hobbies?
Hiking and reading.
8. If you had a weekend off during the season and you weren't allowed to work, what would you do with the free time?
Try to sleep, ha ha. Hopefully go for a hike with my wife and daughter and then go out to eat a good meal.
9. What vacation spot has been your favorite to visit?
We love to go to Yellowstone. My wife and I met working out there and we were married just north of the park. We love getting out hiking and visiting our old favorite places and seeing old friends.
10. Dodgers or Angels, and why? Lakers or Clippers, and why?
Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics
11. Excluding your team, what "49er Moment" from the 2011-12 season was your favorite?
The women's soccer team's run to the Elite Eight. I think it showed Long Beach can compete with anyone and it gets the whole department excited to create that kind of success and excitement.
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