Western track and field coach Vickie Croley was named a Fox 40 Ontario University Athletics Coach of the Year on Thursday, May 10 at the annual OUA awards held in Huntsville, Ontario.
“It was an honour to have even been nominated,” Croley said. “Then for the OUA to select me over all of the great coaches of several sports within the OUA was a shock. This award could have gone to several deserving people — it’s an incredible honour to have won.”
The award caps off an outstanding year for Croley, who also won the Sue Wise Award for women’s coach of the year and led the men’s track and field team to their first ever Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship. Croley also oversaw silver medals for the men and women’s teams in the OUA championships, as well as first and second place finishes for both the squads at the 17th annual McGill Team Challenge.
Croley acknowledged the accomplishments would not have been possible without the ongoing support of her 12 assistant coaches, who helped manage a roster of over 100 athletes.
“I consider this a shared award among my incredible coaching staff. I do wish that they were with me to receive the recognition that they deserve,” she said. “They go above and beyond teaching the technical side of the sport, they develop relationships with the athletes that are necessary to bring out the best in them.”
Approaching 20 years with the Mustangs, Croley was also named OUA coach of the year in 2001.
While Croley appreciated the award, the true highlight of the season was winning the CIS track and field championship. Coming into the final day of the competition in fifth place, the Mustangs men’s team put on a tremendous display of determination to claim their first title, 13 points ahead of the second place Guelph Griffons. Following the win, Croley was named the CIS men’s coach of the year.
“The most exciting event of this year for our whole men’s and women’s team was our men’s team winning the first CIS track and field championship in Western’s history,” Croley said. “The way the team rallied and produced some amazing personal best performances throughout the championships was a once-in-a-life-time accomplishment.”
“Their school spirit throughout was the best I’ve ever seen and it definitely helped produce the outcome in an exhilarating way.”