June 17, 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Jason Drake has been hired as the cross country coach at Washington State University, Cougar track and field Head Coach Rick Sloan announced Monday.
Drake, 31, has been the distance coach at the University of Colorado for the past eight years and takes over the Cougar distance program after James Li accepted a similar position at the University of Arizona.
"We're sorry to see Dr. James Li leave and wish him all the best at the University of Arizona," Sloan said. "Cougar cross country and distance running is taking a new direction under Jason Drake. Jason has been instrumental in bringing in the recruiting classes that made the University of Colorado a national cross country and distance power. He has an outstanding background in the middle distance and long distance training of athletes at the collegiate level and has taken middle-of-the-road talent and developed them into all-Americans. We look forward to continuing the excellence we've had at Washington State University over the years. Coach Drake brings a different philosophy of recruiting and training, and its going to be a very positive addition to our track and field staff."
Drake had a stellar prep career at Campbell County High School, Gillette, Wyoming. He is a 1994 graduate of Colorado, where he was a middle distance runner for the Buffalos competing in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. He earned All-America honors as a member of CU's 1994 indoor distance medley relay team. Drake earned several Academic All-Big Eight Conference accolades on his way to earning a bachelor of science degree in environmental conservation.
Drake became the recruiting coordinator for Colorado's cross country and track and field programs in 2000, in addition to his long and middle distance coaching duties. He recruited and assisted in coaching all members of the Colorado women's 2000, and men's 2001 national championship cross country teams.
In 1999, Drake founded the Colorado Elite Track Club, a nonprofit club for post-collegiate female middle and long distance runners. Among the professional members are several outstanding runners: Shayne Culpepper (2000 Olympic team 1500m and two World Cross Country teams), Janet Trujillo (2002 World Cross Country team and fifth place in 2001 USATF 1500m Outdoor Championships), and Sarah Toland (2002 World Cross Country team).
Drake has also worked part time as a geographic information systems consultant including creating databases for the U.S. Department of Energy and private firms. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys mountain biking, water and snow skiing in addition to running.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to have a great cross country program at Washington State," Drake said. "Coach Li has had some success in the past and I hope to continue that success. Being in the Pac-10 is especially exciting. It is a great conference and one of the best for track and field for sure."