SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Josh Priester, who has served as the Associate Director of Track and Field at UC Santa Barbara since August of 2008 has resigned to pursue the development of a non-profit organization, the Women's Athletic Performance Foundation, in Santa Barbara.
During his time at UCSB, Priester coached the men's and women's sprints, hurdles, horizontal jumps and combined events. In his four years with the Gauchos, Priester coached four NCAA Division I All American performances, 16 NCAA qualifiers, 11 UCSB record-setting performances, three USA National Championship qualifying performances in the heptathlon, and one USA National Team Member. In 2012, Priester was nominated as a West-Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
Priester will continue to coach 2012 UCSB graduate and NCAA runner-up Barbara Nwaba in the heptathlon.
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have had at UCSB," Priester said. "I have enjoyed working with this program for these past four years. I also want to thank coach Pete Dolan in particular for his guidance as a head coach, I have learned a tremendous amount from him during my time here at UCSB."
The Gauchos won their first ever Big West Track and Field Men's Championship in 2012.
"This was a tremendous year for our program, and it will be something that I will always remember," Priester said. "I am honored to have been a part of it."
Priester will remain in Santa Barbara as he works to establish the Women's Athletic Performance Foundation (WAPF). The non-profit organization is being created to facilitate a major change on the national landscape for USA heptathletes. Athletes in the foundation will be extremely active in youth and community outreach to serve as mentors and role models in the community as they pursue representing the United States at the highest level of competition.
"Starting a training group for multi-event athletes has always been something that I have wanted to do, I believe it will be a tremendous challenge, and I am excited to get started on this endeavor," Priester said. "I am equally excited about the role that these elite athletes can play here in Santa Barbara; in the lives of people in the community, especially young people."
The WAPF's website can be found at here.