|Alma Mater:||Pittsburg State|
Nebraska Track & Field
1631 Court Street Lincoln, NE 68588-0637
Phone: (402) 472-6461
Fax: (402) 472-9361
- 2008 USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Inductee
- District 5 Women's Coach of the Year (1995, 1996)
- USTCA National Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year (1994)
- Indoor Midwest Region Women's Coach of the Year (2005, 2010, 2011)
- Indoor Midwest Region Men's Coach of the Year (2005, 2015)
- Outdoor Midwest Region Men's Coach of the Year (2005, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016)
- Big Ten Women's Indoor Coach of the Year (2012)
- Big Ten Men's Outdoor Coach of the Year (2013, 2016)
- Big Ten Men's Indoor Coach of the Year (2015, 2016)
- Big 12 Women's Indoor Coach of the Year (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2011)
- Big 12 Women's Outdoor Coach of the Year (2000, 2005)
- Big 12 Men's Indoor Coach of the Year (1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007)
- Big 12 Men's Outdoor Coach of the Year (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2010)
- 3 Women's Indoor National Championships (1982, 1983, 1984)
- 72 Career Conference Team Titles (42 Indoor, 30 Outdoor)
- 5 Big Ten Championship Teams
- 27-Time Conference Coach of the Year
- 23 Top-5 NCAA Team Finishes
- 42 Women's National Champions
- 17 Men's National Champions
- 320 Women's All-Americans
- 193 Men's All-Americans
- 352 Women's Conference Champions
- 205 Men's Conference Champions
- 57 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans
The all-time winningest track and field coach in the history of the Big 12 and the former Big Eight Conference, Nebraska Head Coach Gary Pepin will enter his 37th season as the head coach of the Nebraska men’s and women’s track and field teams in 2017, making him the longest tenured active coach in Cornhusker athletics and among Big Ten track and field programs.
Pepin is a USTFCCCA Hall of Fame member and has led the Husker programs to a combined three national team titles, 72 conference team titles, 59 individual national champions and 557 individual conference champions. Additionally, 513 first-team All-America honors have been achieved under Pepin, and 57 CoSIDA Academic All-America honors have been earned under Pepin's guidance, which dates back to 1981 for the women's program and 1984 for the men's team.
Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference in 2011-12, Pepin's teams have won five Big Ten championships, including a men's sweep of the indoor and outdoor titles in 2016. Individually, Huskers have captured 44 Big Ten event titles, including nine in 2016.
Pepin has been honored as the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year 10 times in his career, including the men's outdoor honor in 2016. He is a 27-time conference coach of the year, including five awards in the Big Ten era. He was the Big Ten men's indoor and outdoor coach of the year in 2016. Pepin was also honored as the 1995 USTCA National Indoor Track Coach of the Year, and earned NCAA District 5 Women’s Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1996.
Overall, Pepin’s teams have dominated the indoor conference championships through the years, winning 24 of the last 37 women’s titles, while the Husker men have won 19 of the last 32 meets, including back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016. Nebraska has also fared well at the outdoor conference championships, winning 18 of the last 37 outdoor conference meets on the women’s side and 10 of the last 22 men’s titles, including in 2016 when the men finished off the indoor-outdoor Big Ten sweep.
Only the fourth coach to guide the NU men’s program since World War I, Pepin has maintained the program’s stability after replacing the late Frank Sevigne in 1984. Pepin’s men’s program has matched the women’s success, capturing 19 indoor and 13 outdoor conference titles during his 36-year tenure.
The Pepin-coached Husker women won the 1982, 1983 and 1984 indoor national championships. Pepin's teams have combined for 23 top-five NCAA finishes over the last 36 years, and 59 Huskers have been crowned national champions, including Nick Percy in the discus in 2016. Other notable national champions include: six-time Olympic sprinter and 14-time national champion Merlene Ottey, Olympic jumpers Angela Thacker, Nicola Martial, Ineta Radevica and Dusty Jonas.
The Husker men ran away with the 2015 Big Ten Indoor title with 127 points, 41 more than runner-up Illinois. James White (high jump) and Oladapo Akinmoladun (60m hurdles) won Big Ten titles, while the Huskers' depth - particularly in the Pepin-led jumps - keyed the Huskers' victory. NU had three scorers in the men's long jump, two in the triple jump and three in the high jump. The Husker jumpers combined for 42 of the 127 points, as Pepin picked up his first Big Ten Men's Indoor Coach of the Year award. He also added Midwest Region Men's Indoor Coach of the Year, as the Huskers tied for 13th at the NCAA Indoor Championships, their best indoor finish since 2009. Both the Husker men and women were runners-up at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. White added another Big Ten title in the high jump, while Reka Czuth (long jump) and Sarah Firestone (javelin) also captured gold. Nebraska produced five first-team All-Americans in 2015, with White leading the way with both indoor and outdoor honors. Marusa Cernjul (outdoor, high jump), Akinmoladun (indoor, 60m hurdles) and the men's 4x400 indoor relay team (Jake Bender, Levi Gipson, Cody Rush, Drew Wiseman) also picked up first-team accolades.
The Husker men made history in 2013 as Pepin guided NU in a dominating win at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. The Huskers recorded 10 conference titles, eight first-team All-America honors and 10 second-team All-America accolades in 2013. Pepin was honored by his peers following the outdoor conference championships as he was named the Big Ten Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year for guiding NU to its first men’s title in the Big Ten. Pepin coached Mara Griva to a sweep of the horizontal jumps at both the indoor and outdoor conference championships, while Patrick Raedler won the indoor long jump and Janis Leitis captured the indoor triple jump title. Pepin led the men to a 15th-place finish in the team standings, and was honored by his peers nationally with the Midwest Region Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year.
Pepin guided the Husker women to the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Conference team title. The Huskers recorded 11 conference titles in 2012 and 11 first-team All-America honors. Pepin was honored as the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Women’s Coach of the Year for guiding NU to it’s first conference team title as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Pepin personally coached four athletes to Big Ten titles in the jumps, including Anna Weigandt with an outdoor triple jump title, Marusa Cernjul with an outdoor high jump title, Griva in the indoor triple jump and Chris Phipps with an indoor long jump crown.
In 2011, Pepin coached three athletes to All-America honors and four individual Big 12 titles in the jumps. Overall, the Huskers notched 10 All-America accolades in 2011 and 10 individual Big 12 titles, while Pepin’s women’s squad earned the indoor conference title, upsetting four-time defending champion Texas A&M. Pepin was honored as the 2011 Big 12 Indoor Women’s Coach of the Year and the Midwest Regional Indoor Head Coach of the year for the second straight year.
Pepin continued to show that he is one of the top coaches in the country in 2010, as he personally coached seven athletes to nine All-America honors and four individual Big 12 titles in the jumps. The Huskers totaled 15 All-America awards and seven individual Big 12 titles, while Pepin’s men repeated at the conference outdoor meet. For the team’s success, Pepin was named Midwest Regional Indoor Women’s Coach of the Year, Midwest Regional Outdoor Men’s Coach of the Year and was honored as Big 12 Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
The team title earned the Huskers their 22nd Big 12 title, the most for any program in the conference, and it marked the first time in conference history that a men’s program had repeated at the outdoor meet. After the collegiate season, two of Pepin’s jumpers, Paul Hamilton and Chris Phipps, competed for Team USA at the NACAC U-23 Championships in Miramar, Fla. Hamilton won the high jump and Phipps placed second in the triple jump.
In 2009 Pepin passed Frank Sevigne as the longest-tenured head coach in the history of the Nebraska program. The historic milestones continued as the men’s team captured the Big 12 outdoor team title, marking the program’s 100th conference title. The 2009 Husker men also showed they were a force at the national level, placing in the top 20 at both the indoor and outdoor championships. Nicholas Gordon led the way for the men’s team at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a national title in the long jump, as the team tied for fifth, marking the Huskers’ highest finish since 2005. At the end of the season Pepin was named 2009 Big 12 Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year and the 2009 USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year.
Of the seven NCAA All-America honors brought home by Huskers in 2008, three athletes were personally trained by Pepin in the jumps, including Dusty Jonas, an eight-time All-American, national champion in the high jump at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships and a member of Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Games. Overall, Pepin sent seven jumpers to the NCAA Championships, including two true freshmen.
In 2006, Arturs Abolins, under the tutelage of Pepin, became the first NCAA long jump champion from Nebraska, a feat Abolins accomplished at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Abolins also became the first Pepin-coached men’s jumper to sweep an event at both NCAA meets in a single season.
Pepin’s program experienced a banner year in 2005 that rivaled the success of any other in the nation. The Nebraska women swept the Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor Championships for the second time, after also achieving the feat in 2000. The women added a pair of top-10 NCAA finishes. The Husker men, who claimed their eighth Big 12 indoor title in nine years, also raced to a pair of top-20 team placings at the NCAA Championships.
Individually, Nebraska athletes brought home four NCAA event championships for the third straight year in 2005, including titles by Anne Shadle in the mile and 1,500-meter run events. Equally impressive were the 18 All-America honors collected by NU athletes, including five runner-up finishes. Pepin’s jumpers combined for five of those awards, including a silver-medal performance by Jonas, then a freshman, in the high jump at the NCAA indoor meet. Jonas later claimed the U.S. Junior and Pan American Games titles following the outdoor season.
Nebraska’s 2005 season capped a remarkable three-year run that saw the program earn five top-five NCAA team finishes and 13 individual national titles. The 2004 season alone brought a pair of third-place team finishes at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, the highest finishes by the NU women since 1992. Both squads finished fifth at the 2003 outdoor national meet.
In 2000, both Husker teams swept the indoor and outdoor titles, which gave Nebraska its fourth sweep through the conference championships. Although the Huskers fell short of being the first team in league history to sweep the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor titles in back-to-back seasons, NU came closer to accomplishing the feat than any other school, claiming two of four titles in 2001.
Pepin guided Nebraska to an incredible 44 Big Eight indoor/outdoor titles, more than any other coach in the history of the conference. After joining the Big 12 Conference in 1997, Nebraska won a league-high 22 indoor/outdoor titles.
Pepin’s Huskers own a reputation of excellence at the national level as well. His women’s teams won three straight national indoor titles (1982-83-84), and have placed in the top 10 at 17 of the last 32 NCAA Indoor Championships. At the 1996 NCAA indoor meet, the men’s team finished in second place with 31.5 points, its best finish under Pepin and the best in school history.
Outdoors at the NCAA Championships, the Husker women have finished in the top 10 in 16 of the last 31 meets, highlighted by third-place finishes in 1983, 1991, 1992 and 2004. The top-three finish in 2004 produced two national champions and 58 points for NU’s highest score since 1984. The Nebraska men have also made noise at the outdoor national meet, earning 14 top-20 finishes during Pepin’s tenure.
Pepin has coached women who have earned 317 All-America awards and 18 indoor and 24 outdoor individual national championships. His male athletes have won 184 All-America certificates since 1984, nine indoor (including an NCAA relay title) and six outdoor national championships. Among the elite athletes Pepin has coached at Nebraska are eight-time Olympic medalist, world champion and world-record holder Merlene Ottey; four-time NCAA champion Rhonda Blanford; Angela Thacker, who missed a bronze medal in the long jump by one-quarter inch at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles; 1989 NCAA outdoor triple jump champion Renita Robinson; 1991 NCAA outdoor 400-meter dash champion and Olympic bronze medalist Ximena Restrepo; three-time NCAA triple jump champion Ineta Radevica; two-time NCAA long jump champion Arturs Abolins; indoor high jump national champion, school indoor and outdoor record holder and 2008 Olympian, Dusty Jonas; 2009 indoor national champion and Big 12 indoor and outdoor long jump champion Nicholas Gordon, who also represented Jamaica at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany; nine-time conference champion Mara Griva and most recently Miles Ukaoma, who won his first national title in 2014 in the 400-meter hurdles.
Known as one of the premier jumps coaches in the nation, Pepin coached former Husker Angee Henry, a 10-time All-American, to indoor and outdoor NCAA long jump titles in 1996. Under Pepin’s tutelage, former Husker Nicola Martial won the 1994 and 1995 NCAA outdoor triple jump titles and added the 1996 NCAA indoor triple jump crown. At the 1996 Olympic Games, Martial represented Guyana in the triple jump. Pepin’s top male performer prior to Abolins and Jonas was four-time All-American Petar Malesev, the 1995 NCAA indoor high jump champion.
Before coaching at Nebraska, Pepin served as the women’s head coach at Kansas in 1976. Pepin also spent nine seasons at Kansas as an assistant to Bob Timmons. During his stint with the Jayhawks, Pepin’s jumpers established Big Eight bests in every event and earned numerous Big Eight medals, All-America honors and Olympian status. With Pepin’s guidance, Kansas became the first school in the country to have three men jump over 7-2 in the high jump in the same season. Before joining the Jayhawk program, he coached in the prep ranks in Missouri, and watched his teams capture several conference titles.
A native of Pittsburg, Kan., Pepin graduated from Pittsburg High School and Pittsburg State University. He received his master’s degree from Kansas in 1974. He is married to the former Jean Ann Frank of Pittsburg, and they have three daughters, Heidi, Lisa and Michelle, and five grandchildren, Carter, Blue, Landon, Millie and Scout.