Widely recognized as the rising star among the nation's elite throws coaches, Erik Whitsitt is entering his sixth season as an assistant coach for Oregon track and field. Whitsitt joined the Oregon staff in the summer of 2012 following an impressive three-year run at Illinois State.
In his first five years with the Ducks, Whitsitt has coached his student-athletes to two individual NCAA titles, nine individual conference championships and 22 all-American selections. Whitsitt’s throwers have also rewritten the Oregon record books, taking over # school records under his direction.
Under Coach Whitsitt, the Oregon throwers’ production at the NCAA Outdoor Championships has been among the nation’s best. In 2015, Sam Crouser secured back-to-back NCAA Championships in the javelin, Whitsitt’s fourth men’s javelin NCAA Championship in five years. In total, the Ducks’ throwers scored 25 points at the outdoor meet with Greg Skipper and Jillian Weir finishing third and fourth in the hammer throw, respectively, and Brittany Mann taking fifth in the shot put.
Whitsitt’s throwers have also been heavy contributors to extending Oregon’s stretch of dominance at the Pac-12 Championships. Crouser finished his career with four Pac-12 titles in the men’s javelin, the only athlete to ever accomplish that feat in the event. Whitsitt continued to guide Crouser to an appearance at the 2015 IAAF World Championships to complete his senior season.
In five years with Whitsitt at the helm, Oregon throwers have won nine individual Pac-12 Championships in four different events. Most recently in 2017, senior Ryan Hunter-Simms pulled out a dramatic Pac-12 victory in the discus on his final throw, giving Whitsitt his first conference champion in that event. A year earlier, Cody Danielson took home the Pac-12 crown in the javelin, leading a 1-2 finish with John Nizich, before finishing as the runner-up in 2017. Greg Skipper also captured a Pac-12 title in 2016, winning the hammer throw. In 2015, Brittany Mann enjoyed a breakout season winning the Pac-12 shot put crown, becoming the first Oregon athlete to win the Pac-12 meet in the women’s shot. She would repeat as the conference champion a year later in 2016.
While at Illinois State, Whitsitt oversaw the development of two-time NCAA men's javelin champion Tim Glover, as well as two-time NCAA women's runner-up Brittany Smith, who was second in both the shot put and the hammer, outdoors, along with a third-place finish in the weight throw indoors.
Glover, who was named the 2012 USTFCCCA men's national field athlete of the year after winning his second NCAA crown, and Smith both went on to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials, along with another ISU graduate, Leigh Petranoff (women's javelin). Glover and Smith then represented Team USA at the 2012 under 23 NACAC championships in Mexico, where Glover won the gold in the javelin and Smith was the silver medalist in the hammer.
At the 2012 Missouri Valley Championships, Whitsitt's throwers accounted for 41 of Illinois State's 90 points in claiming the league title. Following the season, Whitsitt was named the 2012 USTFCCCA Men's Midwest assistant coach of the year.
Prior to Illinois State, Whitsitt gathered an impressive resume of national coaching and competitive experience. Whitsitt was the throws coach at McNeese State from 2008-09, and also served as the team academic liaison and recruiting coordinator. During the 2009 season, Whitsitt coached three student-athletes to the NCAA East Regional Championships, one each in javelin, shot put and discus.
Whitsitt gained experience in the coaching ranks as a volunteer assistant coach, and with throwing camps and summer league teams. Whitsitt was a volunteer coach for the USA Track and Field Summer League team Lake Area Express in Lake Charles, La., for two years in which he coached two AAU All-Americans in the javelin as well as coaching Jon Poshe to Numerous Masters National championships and state records. Before Lake Area Express, Whitsitt was a volunteer coach for the Iron Wood throwing camp in 2004. He earned his first coaching experience during 2000-02, while serving as a volunteer coach for the USA Track and Field Summer League team Mercury (Pueblo, Co.).
During his collegiate years at Idaho State (2002-05) and Boise State (2005-07), Whitsitt won two individual conference championships in the shot put and was a member of four team conference championships. He was a four-time regional outdoor qualifier in the shot put and qualified for the 2007 NCAA Championships and the 2007 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Whitsitt, a native of Pueblo, Colo., holds a USATF Level I certification and is a USATF Certified Official. He and his wife, Kacie, reside in Eugene.