Lewis & Clark alumnus and Director of Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field, Keith Woodard, retired mid-season in March after coaching for 12 seasons.
Mark Pietrok, Interim Director of Physical Education & Athletics and Head Athletic Trainer, said that Woodard’s retirement is unique in that it marks the end of an era because of his personal connection to the coaches before him. Woodard was coached by a previous head coach, Elden Fix, and ran with his son David Fix, who was also head coach before Woodard.
“We’ve had this kind of long tradition here, and this is the first time in the history of the program that we really kind of come to this part in the road where people who’ve been involved with this program are now done,” Pietrok said.
The news of Woodard’s retirement came in the middle of the track season. Pietrok said that while the announcement was sudden, the coaching staff were able to act and respond accordingly.
“I wouldn’t say we expected this, but it’s not uncommon either,” said. “People choose for whatever reasons to retire, and, he chose to retire. And so we have to react to it and kind of move forward.”
Aaron Campbell, Interim Head Coach of Track and Field and Recruiting Coordinator, is taking Woodard’s place for the remainder of the season. Campbell said that the athletes are prepared for the rest of the season, and are focused on staying at peak performance.
“As far as kind of what we’re trying to do at this point in the season, we’re looking to be at our best performance level in conference championships,” Campbell said. “Really in terms of track and field, all the work is already put in at this point, it’s just a matter of kind of fine-tuning it, and just getting physically ready to do the things that you’ve been trying to do.”
Campbell has been coaching at LC for three years now, but has coached track and field for a total of nine. During his time here, Campbell said there has been a large focus on recruitment and development.
“My first year, we were right around 30, 35 athletes in the program; last year, we’re closer to 60, so … trying to build the program has been a huge emphasis for us,” Campbell said. “We just want to continue to be the best version of ourselves we can be and continue to develop to a higher competitive level.”