After a nationwide search, Pacific hired Brent Eriksen, a seasoned cross county and track and field coach at every level of the sport, to take over the cross country and track and field teams and do what he does best: build, lead and win.
Eriksen has been coaching for 24 years and, in that time, has established himself as one of the most knowledgeable and well-rounded coaches in the sport.
He started out his career working with three Olympic track coaches when he received his Masters degree out of California Polytechnic State University.
“It was a great experience, being able to work with the best in the profession,” Eriksen said. “Each coach had their strengths and weaknesses and I tried to pull from each.”
In 2004, Eriksen coached the Olympic team for Estonia and traveled with them to compete in the Olympic games in Greece.
As his first experience traveling abroad he said being in Greece was amazing and really made him appreciate living in the United States.
Eriksen returned to the Pacific Northwest after moving to Kentucky to coach Division I at Morehead State.
When he took the position at Morehead State the team had few scholarships available, dwindling numbers and a less than impressive academic standing, and did not even have a track.
In a two year span, Eriksen helped the team go from being a bottom feeder to a top fifteen program and breaking fifteen school records and 52 personal bests along the way.
Arguably more impressive was the teams rise in GPA, with the men’s team going from a 2.42 to a 3.50 and the women compiling the fifth highest GPA in Division I.
While he was very proud of his time with the team, Eriksen stressed that their success was their own and it was a team accomplishment.
“I love building programs and turning programs around,” he said. “It’s something I’m very passionate about and I’m very excited to build Pacifics.”
Eriksen has coached 36 All-Americans, is a four-time Cascade Conference Coach of the Year, three-time Lone Star Conference Coach of the year, NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 2007and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Coach of the Year.
“I’ve inherited some really difficult programs and building a new program isn’t a new thing for me,” he said.
Eriksen credits a large contributor of his success to his focus and devotion to the team mentality.
He smiled as he described a dynamic where the team runs for each other, cheers for each other and wins for each other.
“It all just feeds off of each other and it becomes so much more fun,” he said.