After successfully competing as a Golden Bear athlete in the early 1990s, Chris Huffins returned to Cal on Oct. 16, 2002, as Director and Head Coach of the Men's and Women's Track and Field and Cross Country programs. Huffins, a rising star of the coaching ranks, has developed California into a prominent program on the national level.
Since Huffins has taken over the reins of the program, he has led the Golden Bears to some of Cal's greatest achievements. In his first three years, the Huffins-led Bears sent more athletes to the NCAA Championships than in any other three-year span (12 in 2003,13 in 2004 and 15 in 2005) and Huffins has seen his Bears collect 23 All-American honors. The Bears have rewritten the record books under Huffins, setting 20 new Cal school records and 10 new freshman records. Most impressively, Huffins saw five current Bears compete at the 2004 Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif. Two of Huffins' athletes were ranked in the top 10 in the country by TrackWire.com at the start of the 2007 season, with junior Alysia Johnson ranked third in the 800 meters and junior David Torrence ranked 10th in the mile, and two were ranked in the top 10 by Track and Field News both in 2005, with Antonette Carter ranked eighth in the long jump and Paul Teinert ranked ninth in the javelin. Along with these accomplishments, Huffins has coached Cal Throws coach Jennifer Joyce to three Canadian national titles in the hammer, four Canadian hammer records and berths on Canada's 2005 World Championship team and 2006 Commonwealth Games team. Joyce's Canadian national record in the hammer has grown from 214-6 to 224-8 under Huffins' tutelage.
Huffins has seen the team improve its conference standing dramatically since he inherited the program. Holding to the mantra "returning to glory," the women produced the program's highest Pac-10 finish two straight years. They finished fifth at both the 2005 and 2004 conference championships, up four places from 2003, and Cal took second at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships in 2006. The Cal men moved up to seventh in the challenging Pac-10 conference, having weathered a few key injuries over the previous two years. Indoors, however, the men placed second, third and four in the MPSF in, respectively, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Both the Golden Bear track squads look to win the indoor conference titles this season. Huffins has also nurtured the development of the true student-athlete, evidenced by more than 60 Pac-10 All-Academic honors that his athletes have earned since 2003. The future looks bright for Huffins and his Bears, as the 2004 incoming freshman recruiting class was ranked first and the 2005 class was ranked fifth in the country by Track & Field News.
Huffins brought six years of coaching experience with him to his first head coaching position. Throughout his time as an assistant coach, he coached numerous All-Americans and All-ACC honorees. In 2000, he was hired as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech, where he coached the sprints, throws, pole vault and the combined events. Under Huffins' direction, Yellow Jackets set new school records in the women's pole vault, weight throw, hammer and shot put and in the men's weight throw, hammer and javelin. Huffins guided javelin thrower Chris Sinotte to an All-American finish at the 2002 NCAA Championships and a lifetime-best throw of 72.53 (237-10).
Prior to his term at Georgia Tech, Huffins spent three years as an assistant coach in the sprints and combined events at Wake Forest (1997-2000). At the Winston-Salem, N.C., school he coached school-record holders in all sprint events and coached the only ACC champions in the 100m, 200m and 400m relay events in school history.
In addition to his coaching and athletic accolades, Huffins is also active throughout USA Track and Field, in which he has served as a member of the USATF Board of Directors and as an officer of the USATF Athletes' Advisory Committee. He is currently serving on the NCAA Track & Field Coaches Association Executive Board. Over the past four years, Huffins has also served as the USATF Chairman of Men's Combined Events and has developed an elite combined events training camp, held annually at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Huffins was the Founder and Meet Director of the "Challenge of Atlas & Athena," the only Grand Prix combined event competition held in the United States.
While at Cal, Huffins competed at the highest levels of the NCAA. He won Pac-10 titles in the triple jump and the decathlon and won an NCAA title in the decathlon, in which he set the still existing school record of 8,007 points. Huffins' name appears in Cal's top 10 lists in four different events, and he was a two-time team captain on one of the most successful squads in Cal track and field history. He was also the winner of the prestigious Pac-10 Conference Medal (1993) for "exceptional achievement in athletics, outstanding scholastic accomplishment and significant qualities of leadership" during his intercollegiate career. Before transferring to Cal, Huffins competed for two years at Purdue, where he earned honors as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year (1989).
Huffins completed his track and field career in 2001, after winning a bronze medal in the decathlon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and setting the world record in the decathlon 100m (10.22) at the 1996 Olympic Trials. He also owns medals from the 1999 World Championships, 1999 Pan American Games and 1998 Goodwill Games. A two-time U.S. National Champion in the decathlon (1998, 1999) and a member of the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Teams, Huffins enjoyed a long and illustrious career. He was nationally ranked in the top three and world ranked in the top 10 for eight consecutive years from 1993 until his retirement in 2001.
In January of 2000, Huffins was inducted into the Indiana State Track & Field Hall of Fame. He was also a three-time recipient (1998-2000) of the John H. Bennett Award presented by USA Track & Field.
Huffins is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and resides in Alameda, Calif. He received a degree in political economies of industrial societies in 2007.