Bob Fraley, now in his 28th season and eighth as the Director of Track and Field, is a proven coach at the high school, college and international levels. Over the last 20 years, Fraley has consistently produced highly-competitive squads, as well as many international-caliber athletes. And in 2001, Fraley began a new era of coaching an entire track and field squad as the director of track and field.
Since taking over the reins, the Fresno State track and field program has established itself as one of the premier squads in the West both in competition and in the classroom. In addition, Fraley's teams have been annually recognized for their community service efforts while claiming the campus philanthropy honor multiple times under his direction.
The 2007 squad once again proved how Fraley's teams excel both on the field and in the classroom. The men's team took fourth at the WAC Championship and the women took seventh. Fresno State took three first-place finishes at the meet. Freshman Andrew Pancotti brought home the WAC pole vault championship, making it five straight Bulldog champions in the event. Dave Endler won Fresno State's first-ever WAC discus championship. Mallory Webb outdistanced teammate Katie Richardson for the WAC title in the javelin. The Bulldogs also qualified 17 athletes for the NCAA Regional Meet. Add to that 19 Academic All-WAC selections and it is obvious why Fraley is held in such high regard in the track and field community.
The 2006 campaign served as fitting example of how both men's and women's clubs have excelled under Fraley's guidance. The Bulldogs finished fourth at the WAC Championships, taking 10 first-place finishes overall, including a fourth consecutive Pole Vault title as Adam Andresen extended a streak started by Russell Weaver. Hurdler Ryan Moore capped a strong season by qualifying for the NCAA Championships, breaking the school record in the 400m hurdles and placing third overall a the NCAA Regionals. Two relay teams also qualified for the regionals along with throwers D.J. Haynes and Brian Vazquez.
The women were equally strong, sending two athletes to the NCAA Championships in three events. Mallory Webb repeated her All-American performance as a freshman in the javelin, and Katie Richardson participated in two events, qualifying in the javelin as well as the discus. Along with Webb and Richardson, fellow throwers Jamie Farley, LaSha Hill and Aspen Marshall all qualified for the NCAA Regionals, as did WAC Champion Zinzi Evans and Regina Ollison.
Just two years earlier, Fraley's coaching accomplishments were highlighted nationally when he was named USA Track & Field's 2003 Nike Coach of the Year in December 2003 at the organization's annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina.
"I feel very honored and thankful to be selected, but I'm more shocked than anything," Fraley said at the time. "USA Track & Field has always been supportive of my activities to try to improve the sport and they've given me a platform to do a lot of things."
That would be the first of two accolades for the Bulldog's legendary skipper, who later was awarded the 2003 United States Olympic Committee's Developmental Coach of the Year honor on May 2, 2004 at the organization's recognition dinner at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs.
Said Fraley when asked about the prestigious honor: "To be included among that group of coaches at the banquet was just an incredible feeling. I am extremely proud that the Olympic Committee would select me for this award."
Fraley played a pivotal role in rejuvenating the pole vault in the United States when in 1989 he created the Pole Vault Summit, now held in Reno, Nevada. Featuring competitions and an exchange of knowledge about pole vaulting, the event attracts more than 2,000 male and female athletes, from teenagers to Olympic gold medalists.
As a result of his contributions, Fraley was recently inducted into the Pole Vault Hall of Fame. Credited nationwide with spearheading the development of the pole vault, Fraley joined Dave Roberts (former world-record holder) and Mike Tulley (silver medalist at 1984 Olympic Games) as Hall of Fame inductees during a Jan. 26 banquet ceremony at the 2006 Pole Vault Summit.
His work has reaped dividends: in the last three years alone, Team USA men's pole vaulters have won the gold and silver medals at both the 2000 Olympic Games and 2001 IAAF World Indoor Championships, as well as the bronze medal at the 2001 World Outdoor Championships.
In 2003, his contributions reached a new level when he donated his salary to the school's track program in order to prevent it from being cut due to budgetary reasons.
Fraley has guided athletes to 41 All-American honors and three NCAA titles by his son, Doug, in the pole vault.
Athletes have achieved heights and distances competitive with the finest in the country, and the world, under his direction. He guided the men's and women's teams to third- and second-place finishes, respectively, in Fresno State's first indoor conference meet at the WAC Championships in 1993. In his first season as director, Fraley guided his squads to a perfect 8-0 record, with the men's and women's squads each winning three multi-team-meets.
Fraley, a 1960 graduate of Fresno State, has been named the Region 8 Head Indoor Coach of the Year five times and is the President of Division I Track Coaches, as well as the chairman of pole vault development in the United States. He has a great deal of experience on the national level. The Athletics Congress appointed him to be an assistant coach on the U.S. Junior National team in 1986. He also coached the top U.S. juniors at the Pan American Junior Games in a dual meet with Romania, and at the Inaugural World Junior Games in Athens, Greece, that year.
Fraley earned his first coaching accolade as director of track and field when he was named WAC Women's Coach of the Year after guiding the 2002 squad to its first WAC Outdoor Championship crown in school history. The 1994 season was especially successful for Fraley and his athletes, as he assisted in leading the Fresno State women to their first indoor WAC championship and was named the men's Outdoor Coach of the Year for his part in guiding the Bulldogs to their first outdoor WAC title. The Bulldogs finished second in both indoors and outdoors in 1996.
With all of the success Fraley has had indoors, his greatest contribution has come coaching the highly successful Fresno State pole vault, jump and sprint corps. Fraley has produced some of the finest athletes in the conference and the nation in his specialties.
In the pole vault, Doug Fraley skied 18-11 and 13 other Fraley-coached vaulters have gone 17 feet plus, including David Cox's 18-6 1/2 effort in 1996. He has coached two 26-foot long jumpers and seven triple jumpers who have posted bests of 52-feet-or-better, including U.S. Junior National champion and four-time All-American Reggie Jackson, who soared a career-best 54-9 3/4. Cox earned his sixth All-America honor under Fraley during the outdoor 1996 season, as he placed second at the NCAA meet at 18-2. More recently, Fraley guided former Bulldog standout and All-American, Jim Davis to an outstanding 19-0 1/4 in 2000. The vault was record-breaking as it stands as the WAC Championship record.
The women under his tutelage have also done well. Over the past 17 years, the women's team has produced 83 outdoor conference champions and 11 indoor champions including 1999's two-time indoor pole vaulting champion Melissa Price. Tamara Compton leaped to personal bests of 20-3 (long jump) and 41-1 (triple jump) under Fraley's direction.
In the last two years alone, Fraley has helped guide eight different pole vaulters to NCAA Regional appearances, three of whom have qualified for NCAA Championships twice.
Before joining the Fresno State staff, Fraley won 13 league track titles in 15 seasons at Lemoore (Calif.) High School, losing only two dual meets during that time. A 1956 graduate of Laton High School, Fraley competed in football, basketball and track. Fraley was born on Nov. 30, 1937, and he and his wife, Elaine, have three children: Tammi, Jill and Doug.