Iowa State University

Bill Bergan, track and field coordinator, (515) 294-3723
Tom Kroeschell, Athletic Media Relations, (515) 294-3372
Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University track and field coordinator Bill Bergan, who changed the Cyclone men's cross country and track programs from Big Eight Conference doormats into national powerhouses, announced Thursday that he will retire from coaching Feb. 1.

Bergan's cross country teams won 10 Big Eight team titles and claimed the 1989 and 1994 NCAA cross country championships. His ISU track teams captured 15 conference titles, including 10 of the last 15 Big Eight outdoor track crowns.

"Bill Bergan's accomplishments at Iowa State are legendary," said Iowa State athletic director Gene Smith. "What he achieved at ISU is truly remarkable, especially when you consider the status of the program when he first came to Ames. I am grateful for all he has done for our student-athletes, the athletic department and the university. I'm sure he will continue to be a great ambassador for ISU, Ames and the state of Iowa. He has laid a foundation for Iowa State to be a front-runner in cross country and track and field in the Big 12 Conference."

Bergan, 53, a Cedar Falls native, came to ISU as head cross country and assistant track coach in 1971. He became head track coach in 1976. When Bergan first came to Ames, the Cyclones had placed in the Big Eight's lower division at the conference cross country meet for 11 straight seasons. The Cyclones had finished last or next-to-last in 21 straight Big Eight Conference outdoor meets. Since he assumed command, the Cyclones have won 25 conference team titles. Iowa State had won only eight Big Eight cross country and track titles in the 66 years prior to Bergan's arrival.

"When I stepped down as track coach to become program coordinator in 1992, I made it known that I would stay on for three more years," Bergan said. "At the time, Iowa State was scheduled to host the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 1994. As meet director, I decided last spring that I should continue in my job through the cross country season and the championships. Also, I wanted to direct the completion of the new cross country course."

Bergan thanked ISU President Martin Jischke and Cyclone athletic director Gene Smith for their support.

"I have had great support from the ISU administration," Bergan said. "That support has made it possible for me to work with highly motivated young people for over a quarter of a century at Iowa State. I will continue to be involved in athletics through my work in coaching education. I have been committed to the educational development of coaches for many years and consider that to be my second vocation."

Bergan's quest to building a winning tradition at Iowa State has produced astounding results. The cross country team won its first Big Eight title in 43 years in 1974. The Cyclones have since earned 15 NCAA cross country berths, including top--eight finishes in eight of the last 12 years. Iowa State was second at the 1990 and 1991 NCAA meets and third in 1993. In 1981, Iowa State ended a 36--year drought by claiming the Big Eight outdoor track crown.

The list of student athletes who excelled under Bergan include 1984 Olympic silver medalist and three-time NCAA 400-meter hurdle champion Danny Harris and 5,000-meter world champion Yobes Ondieki. In all, Bergan coached 16 Olympians from six different nations.

Bergan's student athletes achieved All-America honors 110 times and captured 163 Big Eight Conference individual titles. His NCAA champions from Iowa include Kensett high jumper Brian Tietjens and Mason City discus thrower Scott Crowell.

Bergan, a graduate of Northern Iowa where he lettered in track and cross country, coached six seasons at Waterloo Columbus High School. A former NCAA cross country and track and field coach of the year, he earned district coach-of-the-year honors 19 times. Bergan is a member of the ISU Cardinal Key organization, recognizing outstanding leadership, character, scholarship and service to ISU. The Drake Relays Hall of Fame member was named to the Iowa Association of Track Coaches Hall of Fame in 1984.