UNLV TRACK & FIELD/CROSS COUNTRY HEAD COACH YVONNE WADE ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM COACHING Wade, who was promoted to Director of Track & Field/Cross Country in 2019, has led the Rebel program for the past 14 years
UNLV Track & Field/Cross Country Head Coach Yvonne Wade announced Monday that she will retire from coaching at the end of this month. Wade, who was promoted to Director of Track & Field/Cross Country in 2019, has spent the past 14 years at the helm of the Rebel program.
Wade made the announcement after returning with the team from the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Oregon.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to walk away from college coaching to pursue new adventures,” Wade said. “I have spent two decades coaching and have been fortunate to have had so many wonderful experiences and have met so many great people. I will be forever grateful to all of my past and present student-athletes, staff and co-workers for the huge impact they have had on my life and I will always cherish the memories we have made together. I have been blessed to be a part of the growth of the UNLV Track & Field and Cross Country teams, and I am excited to see it continue that trajectory under new leadership. Thank you to all for everything and I am and will forever be a proud Rebel.”
Wade elevated the Rebels’ indoor and outdoor programs to new heights over the past five years, winning the Mountain West’s Indoor Championships in both 2018 and 2020, as well as registering a pair of runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2019 to go along with four top-three outdoor showings: second in 2018 and third in 2017, 2019 and 2021. With team success came individual triumph as well, as Wade was tabbed the MW’s Indoor Coach of the Year on three occasions – 2017, 2018 and 2020.
“I want to thank Coach Wade for the many years that she has led our track & field and cross country program,” UNLV Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois said. “We appreciate her leadership, care and hard work to inspire our young women over the past 14 years, elevating our program and building community support. We wish Yvonne and her family all of the best in the future.”
Under Wade’s tutelage, 71 student-athletes have earned all-conference honors a total of 128 times (34 individuals in indoor competition and 37 in outdoor). Additionally, 28 relay teams (10 indoor and 18 outdoor) have been named All-MW dating back to 2008.
She has guided 44 individuals (96 times) and two relay teams (12) to NCAA Outdoor Preliminary competition, with 14 of those individuals (20) and both relays (six) qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Wade has mentored Amanda Bingson (2011), Chelsea Cassulo (2011), Kaysee Pilgrim (2017) and Avi’Tal Wilson-Perteete (2019 and 2021) to USTFCCCA First Team All-America status, while Pilgrim (2016) and Wilson-Perteete (2018) as well as Cassondra Hall (2021), Jasmyne Graham (2019), Destiny Smith-Barnett (2017), Brett Zorich (2012) and a pair of 4x100m relays (2013 and 2017) also garnered second team recognition.
In 2012, the program made its way into the national and international spotlight as Bingson and then-assistant coach Khadevis Robinson represented the United States at the London Olympics in the hammer throw and 800m, respectively. Both Bingson and Robinson finished second in their respective events at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Bingson, who won the hammer throw three times at the MW Outdoor Championships, later became a two-time American champion, winning the USATF Outdoor Championships in 2013 and 2014.
Not only did Wade’s student-athletes rack up the recognition for their performances, but they did so while altering the program’s all-time performance lists. In all, there were 11 indoor and nine outdoor records rewritten over the years. Bingson and Pilgrim rewrote the hammer throw and high jump records numerous times, while Gaby Palmer reset the program’s outdoor pole vault benchmark five times in 2021 alone. Additionally, Smith-Barnett, Kaysha Love, Najia Hudspeth and Drea Austin set the program record in the 4x100m relay and Graham set the 100m hurdle mark under assistant coach Larry Wade, who is also Yvonne’s husband. Smith-Barnett also set the program and MW records in the 60m.
The Rebels were just as successful in the classroom as they were in competition under Wade, as the squad was named a USTFCCCA Division I All-Academic Team eight times. Additionally, the student-athletes recorded 168 Spring Academic All-MW honors and had 73 MW Scholar-Athlete Award recipients.
Prior to coming to Las Vegas and UNLV, Wade spent six years as an assistant coach at Long Beach State and Sacramento State following a successful running career of her own. As a collegian, Wade attended the University of Colorado and was an All-American in 1996 and three-time Big Eight Conference outdoor champion in the 100m hurdles. In 2014, she was inducted into CU Athletics’ Hall of Fame.
Wade, who is the daughter of a Japanese mother and Jamaican father, represented Japan as a member of its national team at the Summer Olympics in 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney). She was an eight-time Japanese national champion, winning the 100m hurdles six consecutive years (1995-2000) and then twice more in 2002 and 2003. She still holds the Japanese record in the indoor 60m and previously set the outdoor record in 100m hurdles.
Yvonne and her husband Larry have two sons, Jordan and Brandon.
A national search for Wade’s replacement will commence immediately.