Nipomo native Louie Quintana Jr. is on the move.
After spending 16 years in Tempe, Arizona, the former All-American is heading to Corvallis, Oregon.
On Monday, Oregon State announced that Quintana, an Arroyo Grande High School graduate, accepted the head coaching positions not only for the Beavers' cross country team, but also the school's track and and field squad.
The move is a step up for Quintana, who was the head men's and women's cross country coach at Arizona State and an assistant for the track and field teams, coaching the middle and long-distance runners.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Quintana said he always envisioned a future around athletics while growing up in Nipomo. His Central Coast upbringing also helped shape his successful career path to Oregon State.
"Growing up in a small community like Nipomo, youth sports were huge," Quintana said. "We played basketball during the basketball season and baseball in the spring. I always thought of playing one of those sports — like football. I had dreams about that stuff. But when I got into high school I realized that I was pretty good at running."
Quintana was a two-time All-American at Arroyo Grande. A legendary coach, the late Greg DeNike, coached Quintana at AGHS. Quintana went on to win the 1990 state cross country title with a time that remains the fourth fastest. He was a nine-time All-American at Villanova University, where he competed from 1991-95. Quintana qualified for the 1992 Olympic Trials in the 1,500 meters and competed in Europe several times.
"Running has opened up a ton of doors for me, domestically and internationally," Quintana said Tuesday. "It exposed me to a lot of different things that I didn't think were possible being from such a small town. I was very fortunate to go to such a great institution in Villanova and compete there. Then at Arizona State we won four national titles in track and field. I've gone to the White House after winning an NCAA title.
"Really, towards the end of my career at Arizona State, I was trying to find that opportunity that was right to be the head track and field coach. And it was a confluence of events that this happened. Corvallis is a small town and that's exactly what I coveted. I wanted my children to have the opportunity like I did growing up in Nipomo and the AG area. Growing up in a place like Corvallis will expose them to that way of life. It's worked out for myself and my family."
Louie Quintana Sr. has spent the last 16 years coaching track and field and cross country at Hancock College and also coached at Righetti High.
"He’s worked hard for this position," Quintana Sr. said on Tuesday. "Not only that, but it was time to make a change. He spent 16 years there at Arizona State and most coaches have trouble lasting five or six years at a place. I told him, 'If you’re going to make a move, you better make it now.'
"This is what he wanted. He thought it’d be a good job. He did great things at Arizona State and he left on good terms."
Quintana Sr. has been coaching track and field for 36 years.
"(Louie Jr.) was here for the Fourth of July and we would go in the other room and just talk track," Quintana Sr. said. "It’s hard to say where it comes from, but we've both been coaching for so long now. I enjoy it and I know he does, too."
Quintana Jr. is ready to tackle the task at hand in Corvallis.
"I'm absolutely excited," he said. "This is a great opportunity. Oregon State has a lot of upward mobility and potential. They're ripe for this opportunity... It's going to be a process and it won't come immediately, but we have the structure in place to make some great progress."