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NWAC HEADLINES

10 time Coach of the Year - Lane's Grady O'Connor steps down

Photo of Grady O'Connor

EUGENE, Ore. After 20 years of coaching at Lane Community College, Grady O'Connor will step down from his role as head coach after the end of this season, and move to full-time instructor.  

“It is with a heavy heart that I step away, but it is time to hand over the reins to my successor,” O’Connor said. “Over the past 20 years, I have met some of the most amazing young athletes and it has been my privilege to help nurture and develop them.”

O'Connor has been a part of eight NWAC Cross Country and Track and Field Championships over his Lane coaching tenure. His programs are viewed as the most formidable in the state and beyond, winning 37 regional titles, including 13 straight for the Titan men. He has produced over 400 Junior College All-Americans, set 24 event school records and earned 10 NWAC Coach of the Year awards.

O’Connor’s impact runs deep in the sport. He has helped hundreds of student athletes transfer to four-year schools, including the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, University of Alabama, Michigan State University, among others. Some of the more notable Titans under O’Connor’s tenure have included Jordan McNamara, Cyrus Hostetler and Dakarai Hightower.  McNamara ran a school record 3 minutes, 41 seconds and qualified for USA Nationals as a Lane freshman and is now a highly successful professional runner. Hostetler is a two-time Olympian who qualified for the 2008 USA Olympic Trials as a Lane athlete, throwing 241 feet.  More recently, as a sophomore at Lane, Dakarai Hightower placed sixth in the 2016 USA Olympic Trials, qualifying with a school record jump of 7 feet, 5 inches.

Beyond the athletic accolades, O’Connor has been instrumental in securing and transforming Lane’s track into an Olympic-caliber facility thanks to voter support of Lane’s 2008 bond measure.  O’Connor and staff hosted and directed many special community events at this updated facility. Most notably, the OSAA State Cross Country Championships, along with All-Comers meets and NCAA and USA championship practice events.

Before O’Connor officially ends his head coaching duties, he will be working for Lane’s fifth NWAC title in a row next month, May 22-23 at Mt. Hood Community College.
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