Tony Sandoval, one of the most experienced and highly-regarded distance coaches in the United States, is in his 21st season as head coach of the California men's and women's cross country teams and his 35th year overall at the university.
Sandoval also was the head women's track and field and cross country coach at Cal from 1982-91, prior to the merger of the men's and women's programs into a single entity in 1992.
Sandoval has a proven record of developing athletes during their collegiate careers, and many of them have gone on to race after college. Those who have experienced postgraduate success include Alysia Johnson Montano, a three-time USA champion in the 800 meters and the fourth-place finisher in the 800 at the 2011 World Championships; 2008 USA Olympic marathoner Magdalena Lewy Boulet; Peter Gilmore, a qualifier in the marathon for the 2005 World Championships; Bolota Asmerom, David Torrence, Elissa and Lori Riedy, and Richie Boulet.
Under Sandoval's guidance, Golden Bears have earned All-America recognition 11 times, most recently when Deborah Maier placed 30th at the NCAA Championships last fall. Yosef Ghebray claimed the honor in 2008, while Kirsten O'Hara was a three-time recipient in the mid-1980s.
The Cal men reached the NCAA meet three times between 2007-10, with a program-best finish of 16th in 2007. The Bears were 22nd in 2008 and 31st in '10. The Cal women have advanced to NCAAs twice, finishing 15th in 1984 and ninth in 1988.
At the conference level, the Bears have had a number of highly successful runners under Sandoval, including Richie Boulet, who posted three consecutive top-five finishes from 1993-95. Ghebray placed in the top 10 in both 2007 and '08, while Michael Coe took sixth in 2010. For the women, Maier was third at the 2010 Pac-10 meet, Cal's first top-10 finisher since Bridget Duffy was eighth in 2003. Others to place among the top five include Tenaya Soderman (3rd, 1993) and Sabrina Han (4th in 1989; 5th in 1990).
Sandoval, the 1986 NorPac Conference Track and Field Coach of the Year, started his collegiate coaching career with the University of New Mexico women's team in 1975, serving first as an assistant before taking over the head coaching duties.
A five-time U.S. national team coach, Sandoval served as the head coach for the 1995 U.S. Junior Pan American women's track and field team in Santiago, Chile. He also was an assistant coach for the U.S. team at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba, head coach of the 1987 U.S. junior team that competed in Cuba and Canada, and head coach for the U.S. at the World Cross Country Championships in Glasgow, Scotland (1978), and Madrid, Spain (1981).
A 1968 graduate of New Mexico, Sandoval helped the Lobos to two Western Athletic Conference titles in cross country and three conference championships in track and field.
Sandoval continued his education at UNM, earning a master's degree in exercise physiology and a minor in guidance and counseling in 1974. He taught in the undergraduate physical education department at UNM while working on his Ph.D. in sports psychology.
Sandoval and his wife, Barbara, reside in Pleasant Hill and have two daughters, Lisa and Marcy.