Former UCLA pole vault standout Anthony Curran enters his 28th year at his alma mater as the men's and women's vault coach. Curran is also in his fourth year as head jumps coach with the Bruins. 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.
During the 2011 season, Curran coached Greg Woepse to the Pac-10 crown in the pole vault, while Jonathan Clark was the runner-up finisher in the triple jump. 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.
On the women's side, 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.
The 2010 season was one of mixed results for Curran as two of his top vaulters were hindered by injury. Casey DiCesare, Johnny Quinn and Greg Woepse posted marks over 17-0 in both the indoor and outdoor season, but Quinn broke his hand during outdoors and missed the post-season while Woepse dealt with hamstring strains that kept him away from top results. DiCesare and Quinn both cleared 17-5 outdoors and 17-7 indoors last year and will continue to raise the bar in 2011.
The women vaulters had great success as Tori Peña (14-3.25) and Katy Viuf (14-2) each cleared the 14-foot barrier and finished third and fourth, respectively, at the NCAA Outdoor meet.
The horizontal jumpers also did well, while several also struggled with injury. Taylor Hobson missed the season due to knee surgery, but Jonathan Clark (TJ-52-5.25) and Nelson Rosario (LJ-25-0) posted lifetime-best marks during the 2010 season.
During the 2009 season, Curran had three vaulters and five jumpers compete at the NCAA Outdoor meet, with Rhonda Watkins, Danielle Watson, Johnny Quinn and Katy Viuf advancing to the event finals. In all, Curran's jumpers tallied 18 regional qualifying marks during the season, while over 15 lifetime-best performances were achieved. Watkins earned indoor and outdoor All-American honors in the long jump. Viuf ranked in the top-5 in the women's vault and moved to fourth all-time in school history.
Nine male athletes have earned 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 Mike Woepse (`11-outdoor); while eight women have earned the honor - Tori Peña (`10 outdoor/indoor); 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.
His athletes have won nine Pac-10 titles, four on the men's side and five on the women's side, while over 20 men and women have secured spots on UCLA's all-time top-10 vault list with him as their coach.
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, 51, 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 (14), Tate (10) and Marlow (9), and Shaylee (4) and Kai Lilly (2).