28 August 2018
Earlier this month, Brandon Masters departed from his role as the UCCS head Track and Field coach, who has announced his resignation after three years of dedication. He will leave Colorado to take on the role of head track and field and cross country coach at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, MO.
Masters’ position at UCCS will be taken up by coach Ross Fellows, who was Co-Head Coach during Masters’ three years at UCCS.
In those three years, Masters essentially rebuilt the entire track and field program from scratch, beginning with just seven athletes in the spring of 2016. Now, the program boasts of 57 athletes – not including this year’s new recruits – and a renewed coaching and training staff.
Last year marked the most successful year in program history for the UCCS track and field program, with the women’s team claiming their first ever NCAA indoor championship title.
After the victory, both Masters and Fellows were named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Women’s Indoor Track and Field Coaches of the Year. Skylyn Webb, now senior, was voted RMAC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, and now sophomore, Kaija Crowe, was honored as RMAC Freshman of the Year.
To top the year off, 44 Mountain Lions received RMAC All-Academic Track and Field Team honors, with 64 earning All-RMAC recognition. Seven athletes earned All-American honors from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
“I am very happy for Brandon, and that he is getting the opportunity to move closer to home and family, but I am sad to see him go. We will continue building on the success of this program because the right foundation has been laid,” Fellows said in an August 8 announcement.
Part of that foundation includes the newly constructed Mountain Lion Fieldhouse, which will host three indoor meets this coming season.
Nathan Gibson, the UCCS Executive Director of Athletics, only had good things to say about Masters, and thanked him for his dedication.
“Coach Masters did some really great things while he was at UCCS,” Gibson said, “He loves this place. He’ll always be a part of our family.”
When asked about the future of UCCS’ track and field program, Fellows said the goal is still the same. As many as four national championships are all targets, including a chance for the women to defend last year’s title on home turf.
A “family-first environment” is also in the works, something that Fellows and his coaching staff plan to continue to take seriously. All contracts and scholarships will continue to be honored, according to Gibson.
Prior to the statement released on August 8, Masters’ departure was coordinated among coaches and staff, and announced to the athletes as soon as it was made official. The athletes’ reactions, according to Gibson and Fellows, have been overwhelmingly positive and understanding.
As of last week, a search committee was actively seeking an assistant coach to add to the roster and fill in for Masters’ absence.
“This [coaching transition] is unique,” said Gibson, “because we had the co-head coach thing,” something that worked well for Masters and Fellows.
“It worked,” said Fellows, “because we are very similar, and we have a lot of the same ideas.” Masters admitted that the time has come for a single Head Coach to be calling the shots.
In an interview, Gibson reiterated that, “this is an opportunity for us to be able to also evaluate kind of what the coaching staff will look like. I’m confident we’ll be able to bring in somebody when we [hire an assistant] that’s going to be an excellent coach, that’ll fit our values, that’ll be able to recruit.”
They hope to have the hiring process complete by the end of September.