Leading her young UCLA team in 2012 to the program's highest NCAA Outdoor placement since 2009, Jeanette Bolden in 2013 begins her 20th season as the Bruin women's track & field head coach. This season she takes on additional important responsibilities, including directing the men's sprints and hurdles and overseeing the program's academic progress and success.
Bolden's accomplishments as a collegiate head coach, U. S. Olympic head coach and gold-medal winning U. S. Olympic athlete are unmatched in the world of track & field. As the Bruin women's head coach since 1994, she has led UCLA to three NCAA team championships, the 2004 NCAA Outdoor and the 2000/2001 NCAA Indoor titles, the first women's or men's national indoor track & field crowns in school history.
She directed the Bruin women to the first two NCAA West Region Championships (2003/2004); ten Pac-10 titles, including eight consecutive from 1997-2004 and an impressive 74-7 dual meet record. The Bruins have been rated the nation's top dual meet team on nine occasions.
As UCLA's head coach, she has instructed four Bruins to six NCAA Outdoor individual championships - Nicole Leach (2007/2009 400m hurdles), Monique Henderson (2005 400m), Sheena Johnson (2003/2004 400m hurdles) and Joanna Hayes (1999 400m hurdles).
Since 1994, Bolden has coached over 50 UCLA All-Americans in the sprints, hurdles and relays. Senior Turquois Thompson has placed second the last two years in the NCAA Outdoor 400m hurdles and last season ran a personal-best 55.28, No. 7 all time in Pac-12 history. She has been the conference 400m hurdles champion two of the last three years. At the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the Bruins' 4 X 400M relay (freshman Ally Courtnall, sophomore Breyonna Hunter, freshman Katie Reid, sophomore Tatum Souza) earned Honorable Mention All-America honors.
In 2006, Bolden earned one of the highest honors of her distinguished coaching career when she was named the U. S. women's track & field head coach for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. She was the first head coach in U. S. Olympic history to have won an Olympic medal as an athlete. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Bolden earned a gold medal on the U. S. women's 4 X 100m relay and placed fourth in the 100m.
In Beijing, Bolden led the American women to, at the time, their third-highest medal count (23) in U. S. Olympic history, and the most since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Bolden helped coach Bruin greats Dawn Harper (gold, 100m hurdles), Sheena Johnson (bronze, 400m hurdles) and Monique Henderson (gold, 4 X 400m relay) to Olympic glory.
In 2012, Bolden's UCLA senior class had over a 90% graduation rate. Four Bruin track and field women's athletes (junior distance runner Katja Goldring, pole vaulters sophomore Tasha Kolbo and junior Liz Goodrich and sophomore thrower Ida Storm) were named to All-Academic teams by the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association for success in the classroom and on the track during the 2012 outdoor season. Athletes who competed at the NCAA preliminary rounds or the NCAA Championships and had grade-point-averages above 3.25 were eligible for the All-Academic teams.
Fourteen UCLA women's track & field athletes were named to the 2012 Pac-12 All-Academic team, highlighted by Goodrich, sophomore distance runner Rachel Butler and senior distance runner Taryn Pastoor earning second-team honors.
At the end of the 1993 season, then-UCLA women's track & field head coach Bob Kersee asked to be relieved of his head coaching duties and reassigned to the Bruin staff. There was only one logical choice to replace Kersee, and that was Bolden, an Olympic gold medal winner and All-American sprinter at UCLA. Bolden has just completed her second year as a Bruin assistant coach, specializing in the sprints and hurdles, when she was named UCLA's head coach.
In December 2010, Bolden was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCA) Hall of Fame. In 2004, she swept every women's collegiate coaching honor and was named `Coach of the Year' by the USTFCCA in the National, West Region and Pac-10 categories.
On Feb. 13, 2004, Bolden was presented the prestigious C. Vivian Stringer Award, an accolade which is presented to a woman who has experienced outstanding achievement as a coach - exhibiting a high standard of propriety, imagination and innovation as a character builder in the tradition of great teacher-coaches. She has also been named the USTCA West Region Women's Coach of the Year on nine occasions, as well as Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year on 10 occasions.
Bolden has served on a number of NCAA and track & field boards and has been an assistant coach for the World Indoor and Outdoor Championships. In 1998 she was named the USOC Track & Field Developmental Coach of the Year. In 1994, Bolden served as an assistant coach for the West squad at the Olympic Festival in St. Louis, MO and in 2006, she served as the head coach for the 2006 World Cup, which was held in Greece.
Bolden has coached several of the top sprinters in NCAA history during her time at UCLA, most notably NCAA Champions Monique Henderson, Sheena Johnson and Nicole Leach. In 2005, Henderson capped off her NCAA career with a win in the 400m at the NCAA Outdoor, the first individual title of her collegiate career. She blazed her way through the season, winning the Pac-10, West Region and NCAA titles, ending her career with nine All-America honors. Her accomplishments helped her garner the Pac-10 and Mondo West Region Women's Athlete of the Year awards. Henderson was a finalist for the Honda Award, given annually to the nation's top female student-athlete. She ranked third in the country and 10th in the world that season in the 400m. Henderson won gold medals as a member of the U. S. 4 x 400m relay squad that took first-place at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
Johnson won two NCAA 400m hurdles crowns during her time at UCLA, setting a collegiate record in her final year (52.95, 2009). She won three West Region titles and nine Pac-10 crowns (three on a relay and six individual) during her career and was a 15-time All-American. Johnson competed at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and just missed a medal, finishing fourth in the intermediate hurdles. In 2008 at Beijing, she earned a Silver medal in the 400m hurdles.
Leach made a name for herself in the 400m hurdles on the collegiate, national and world scene, winning her first NCAA title during her sophomore season and placing second in 2008. She capped off her Bruin career in 2009 with her second NCAA 400m hurdles crown. Leach competed for the U.S. at the 2007 World Championships, advancing to the semifinal round and competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June of 2008.
As an athlete at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Bolden earned a gold medal on the U.S. 400m relay team and placed fourth in the 100m. She was also a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that did not compete in Moscow. At UCLA from 1981-83, Bolden was a five-time All-American. In 1982, she helped lead the Bruins to their first NCAA Outdoor championship, by placing second (11.12) in the 100m and running on UCLA's 400m relay that finished third (44.02). At the 1981 Nationals, Bolden placed third in the 100m (11.28) and ran on the Bruins' 400m (second, 44.49) and 800m medley (second, 1:37.41) relays. In 1983 (UCLA's second NCAA Outdoor team title), she injured a hamstring before Nationals and did not compete. On the all-time Bruin sprint charts, she is still tied for fourth in the 100m (11.16, with an 11.12w).
Throughout her track career, Bolden was considered one of the top female sprinters in the U.S. In 1986 she tied the then-world indoor record (6.54) in the 60y dash at the GTE/Times Indoor meet at the Los Angeles Forum and in 1983, Bolden set the former 60y world record indoor mark (6.60) at the Dallas Times Herald Meet. She still holds the collegiate women's indoor mark in the 50m (6.13) and 50y. In 1985, Bolden ran the second leg on the American-record setting sprint medley relay (1:36.79). Ranked No. 9 in the country in 1988, she was trying to make her third straight U.S. Olympic team that year when she tore an Achilles tendon at the Trials, requiring surgery.
She is executive director and coordinator of the Jeanette Bolden Asthma and Allergy Track Clinic and a member of the Board of Directors for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation. Most recently, she was named a coordinator for the Marathon Kids Foundation at UCLA, an organization that gets volunteers and participation from the Bruin women's track & field team. Bolden and her family owns the famous 27th Street Bakery in Los Angeles and with her husband of 23 years, Al, they have two children, twins Anthony and Kimberly, age 11.