Former UCLA pole vault standout Anthony Curran enters his 32nd year at his alma mater, returning this season as the men’s and women’s volunteer jumps coach. Curran has become one of the premier vault coaches in the nation as he continues to produce All-American after All-American at UCLA. He has coached multiple Olympians, National Record Holders, and NCAA and Pac-10 Champions during his tenure at UCLA, a feat that has made UCLA a pole vaulting powerhouse. Curran also earned top honors in 2006 after being named the NCAA West Region Women’s Jumps Coach of the Year.
In 2014 the tradition of excellence continued for Curran and the UCLA pole vaulters. Mike Woespe once again was named an All-American while Natasha Kolbo soared to new heights to earn All-American honors during the outdoor season. The pole vault crew continued to put together record breaking performances and personal bests. Woepse cleared a personal best 18-5.25 in the dual meet against USC to improve the third best vault in school history. Kolbo cleared a personal best 13-10.50 to rank seventh all-time while Elena Clarke hit a personal best of 13-6.25 to crack the UCLA top-10.
The UCLA vaulters continued their excellence in 2013. In his junior campaign Mike Woepse won the Pac-12 title with a vault of 17-11 and was an indoor All-American with a seventh place finish (18-0.50). Allison Koressel finished second overall at the Pac-12 championships with a 13-4.25 and placed fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Her vault of 14-1.75 ranks fifth in the UCLA top-10.
in 2012, UCLA was ranked number one for combined pole vault programs in the country with the highest number of 17’ and 18’ foot male pole vaulters and the most 13’ and 14’ foot female pole vaulters. Sophomore Mike Woepse scored second at the NCAAs and went on to place sixth at the U.S. Olympic Trials recording a personal best of 18’ 2 1/2. 17. Sophmore Natasha Kolbo and junior Allison Koressel vaulted 13’7" to rank in the top 10 all-time at UCLA. In addition, six men’s vaulters and decathletes registered personal bests in the pole vault. The Bruins recorded personal bests as four of the women’s team’s six pole vaulters registered marks over 13’1. In the high jump, sophomore Alexis Walker jumped 5-10.75 and redshirt junior Dillon Stucky set a personal best of 50-9.25.
In the last 15 years, UCLA pole vaulters have scored more than "double" the points at NCAAs than any other program in the country including seven NCAA Champions and six Runner-up’s. UCLA had two Bruins represented at the 2012 Olympics with vaulters Tori Pena and Yoo Kim. The Bruins also had four vaulters compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Megan Jamerson, Katy Viuf, Dustin Deleo and Mike Woepse.
In 2011, Curran coached Allison Koressel and Tori Anthony to equal marks of 13-7.25 during the outdoor season, a lifetime-best mark for Korressel. Those two, along with Liz Goodrich, competed at the NCAA Preliminary Round, but did not advance to NCAAs.
Curran also coached Greg Woepse to the Pac-10 crown in the pole vault, while Jonathan Clark was the runner-up finisher in the triple jumps Woepse’s younger brother, Mike, competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, along with Clark, as both earned second-team All-American accolades. Clark also earned indoor All-American honors (2nd-team) at the NCAA Indoor meet in the triple jump. Three Bruin vaulters posted marks above 17-feet during the 2011 season.
Nine male athletes have earned pole vault All-American honors under Curran’s tutelage - Dustin DeLeo (`08 indoor); Mike Landers (`06/’07-outdoor); Yoo Kim (`04-outdoor, `03-outdoor); Pat Luke (`03-outdoor); Brian McLaughlin (`00-indoor); Johnny Quinn (`08 outdoor); Scott Slover (`98-indoor/outdoor, `97-indoor, `96-indoor/outdoor); John Sommers (`94-indoor) and Greg Woepse (`11 outdoor), while eight women have earned the honor - Tori Peña (`10 outdoor); Katy Viuf (`10 outdoor); Tori Anthony (`08 indoor); Chelsea Johnson (`06-indoor/outdoor, `04-indoor/outdoor); Ingrid Kantola (`07 indoor and outdoor); Jackie Nguyen (`04-outdoor); Tracy O’Hara (`02-’99-both indoor and outdoor all four years at UCLA); and Erica Hoernig (`98-indoor).
O’Hara won three NCAA titles - 2002 and 2000 Outdoor and 2000 Indoor. Johnson was the 2006 Indoor champion and 2004 Outdoor champion, and set the NCAA Collegiate Pole Vault Record (15-1) in 2006.
Curran’s athletes have won nine Pac-10 titles, four on the men’s side and five on the women’s side, while he has coached every woman on UCLA’s all-time top-10 and nine of the men on the all-time chart.
In recent years, Curran has coached six Olympians - Okkert Brits (South Africa), Yoo Kim (South Korea), Canadians Dana Ellis and Stephanie McCann, and American Mel Mueller. Ellis is the current Canadian National Record Holder (14-7.25) and both her and Ellis were Canadian National Champions. Kim set a Korean National Record in 2004 with a mark of 18-4.50, a height which also ranks third all-time at UCLA.
Curran, was a four-year letterman and All-American from 1978-82. During his senior season, he won the Pac-10 title with an 18-2.50 vault, No. 4 in Bruin history. In ‘82, Curran also placed fourth in the NCAA. As a junior, he was second in the conference (18-0.50) and also placed second in the NCAA, his best collegiate finish. In 1981, he ranked sixth in the U.S. As a sophomore in 1980, he jumped 17-8.50 to again place second in the Pac-10 and was third at the NCAA Championship. During his freshman season, Curran placed second (17-3) at the conference level and fourth at the NCAA. Still active as a vaulter into the ‘90s, Curran cleared 18-8.50 (personal-best) in 1992 and that summer competed in the U.S. Olympic trials.
Curran, whose brother Tim was a Bruin vaulter in 1975-76, graduated from Crespi HS in Encino in 1978. During his senior prep season, he was the State champion (17-0.50, a CA State record at the time), and his 17-4.25 was a national prep record. As a junior, he vaulted 16-4, as a sophomore 15-9 and as a freshman in 1975, his best was 14-8.50.
Curran started his own track club, "No Limit Sport" in 1985. In 1989, he founded the Beach Pole Vault Association.
He has coached five elite women vaulters - 2000 Olympian Mel Mueller (15-1.75), No. 3 in the U. S.; Mary Sauer, ranked No. 10 in the World (15-3i), Canadian National Champion and Canadian National Record Holder Dana Ellis (14-8, 6th at the Athens Olympics), former Canadian National Champion Stephanie McCann (14-7.25, 10th at the Athens Olympics), Alexa Harz, fifth at the 2000 U. S. Olympic Trials (13-9.25) and O’Hara, who placed fifth at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2004 (Personal-best 15-0 in 2005).
Curran began his own production company in 1995 and has produced seven surf movies sold worldwide. He also began the Curran Surf Camps in 1998, which he runs during the summer, in addition to holding two UCLA pole vault and track camps. In 2003, Curran, an avid musician, produced his first music CD. He wrote, arranged and performed all 13 songs.
Curran married Lisa Carlson in 1994, and they have five children - Sara (17), Tate (15) and Marlow (13), Shaylee (7) and Kai Lilly (5).