Veteran distance coach Jason Drake (JD) is entering his 28th year of coaching middle and long-distance athletes. After several stops at some of the NCAAs most successful programs, JD has now taken over as the Head Track & Field Coach at Fresno State University. In addition to his university duties, he still runs his camps, private coaching, and his recent formation of a local running club. Making Fresno, CA his home, JD has found this corner of the country has some fantastic location for training endurance athletes.
Previously JD worked with the University of Washington since the summer of 2009, bringing more than a decade of experience coaching and recruiting many of the country’s best runners. In addition to coaching the men’s and women’s distance runners, Drake headed up many more projects designed to continue the advancement of the Washington Track and Field program.
In Drake’s nine seasons with the Dawgs, Washington qualified its women’s team to the NCAA Cross Country Championships every season with four Top-10 finishes, including capturing trophies in 2009 (3rd-place) and 2011 (2nd-place) while the men made nationals in 2009, 2014, 2017, and tied the second-best finish in school history in 2015 with an eighth-place finish. On the track, 30 different distance runners earned All-America honors since 2009. Three UW women won Pac-12 Cross Country individual titles during Drake’s time on staff while men’s and women’s distance runners combined for eight Pac-12 track titles.
Drake served the previous seven years as the head distance coach at Washington State, serving as assistant distance coach in charge of the Cougars cross country program the first two seasons before being officially named cross country head coach in 2004. Prior to that Drake began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Colorado, where he was an assistant distance coach from 1995-2002 and also served as recruiting coordinator during the final three years of his stint.
Some of Drake’s achievements at WSU included leading the men’s cross country squad to the NCAA Championships in 2006, its first national meet appearance in eight years and just the second since 1984. Drake mentored Haley Paul to a program-record 14th-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships and All-America honors. Three more Cougars earned All-American honors on the track under Drake, winning two Pac-10 titles as well.
Drake’s time at Colorado coincided with one of the most successful runs by any distance program over the past twenty years. The men’s team won the NCAA title in 2001, following a runner-up finish in 2000. The Colorado women were team champs in 2000 as well as runners-up in 1995. Both team titles were achieved by athletes recruited and coached in part by Drake under head coach Mark Wetmore. On an individual level, Drake worked with All-Americans Lesley Higgins (second in mile at NCAA Indoor), Steve Slattery (second in steeplechase at NCAA Outdoor), and Sara Gorton (fourth in 5k at NCAA Outdoors).
In addition to Drake’s success at the NCAA level, he has had plenty of success with post collegiate elite athletes. Most recently in the spring and summer of 2019 he coached Katie Mackey to a World Championship standard in the 1500 meters and Savannah Colon to the USATF Outdoor Championships semifinals in the 800 meters. He has plenty of success with post-collegiate athletes and in 1999 founded the Colorado Elite Track Club, a nonprofit club for post-collegiate female middle and long-distance runners. The club was home for several world-class runners including Shayne Culpepper (2000 Olympic team 1500m and two World Cross Country teams), Janet Trujillo (2002 World Cross Country team and fifth place in 2001 USATF 1500m Outdoor Championships), and Sarah Toland (2002 World Cross Country team).
If you would like information about working with Jason, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep in mind due to NCAA rules, JD cannot privately coach high school aged athletes.