July 18, 2012
BERKELEY - Shayla Houlihan, one of the top steeplechasers in the United States, has joined the California track & field staff where she will assist with cross country and distance runners, Golden Bear director of track & field Tony Sandoval announced Wednesday.
"I'm pleased to announce the addition of Shayla Houlihan to our coaching staff," Sandoval said. "She comes with a variety of experiences all related to track & field. She's been a professional running for Brooks Running Club, competed in the European summer circuit and earned a master's degree. She's worked diligently to become an elite runner and has the passion to coach. I see Shayla having an immediate contribution in all aspects of our program."
A record-setter in the 3000-meter steeplechase as a collegian at Northern Iowa and Utah, Houlihan continued to race after graduation and ended her professional career after a 22nd-place finish in the steeple at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month. She owns a PR of 9:51.26 in the event from 2011 and was ranked seventh in the country in the steeplechase by Track & Field News in 2010.
Houlihan initially attended Northern Iowa, graduating in 2007 with a degree in physical education and a minor in coaching. She then enrolled at Utah and competed as a master's candidate in health promotion and education. During the 2008 season, she established the Utah record in the steeplechase (10:43.60) and finished fourth in the event, as well as eighth in the 1500 meters, at the Mountain West Conference championships. She was named to the MWC and coaches' association all-academic teams.
Houlihan remained at Utah as a volunteer assistant coach through the 2010 season, working with the Utes' distance and cross country runners, including MWC 1500-meter champion and NCAA cross country qualifier Alyssa Abbott.
Houlihan then worked as an assistant coach for Team Run Flagstaff in Arizona from 2010-12, planning, coordinating and supervising weekly workouts for 170 members. She also competed professionally for Brooks in the steeplechase and was a two-time participant in the USA indoor and outdoor championships, as well as the Olympic Trials.