NORTON, Mass. - Wheaton College men's and women's indoor and outdoor track & field head coach Paul Souza, who won eight national championships during his 17-year tenure, announced his resignation from the school's coaching staff, effective at the end of the month. A national search for Souza's permanent replacement is already underway.
"I am very proud to have built the track & field program at Wheaton and to have seen the team and athletes achieve a level of success that I could not have imagined when I took the job," said Souza. "I have some great memories of the top-notch athletes, friends and colleagues who made the best years of my tenure really fantastic. They are the ones who truly made the Wheaton track & field program as successful as it has been. More importantly, these individuals continue to be good and successful people. I've devoted 17 years to Wheaton, and my family and I are excited about my future prospects in the next phase of my career and life."
Wheaton's most decorated coach, Souza led the women to eight national championships during a five-year span (1999-03), as the Lyons became the first NCAA Division III program to sweep the indoor and outdoor national titles three straight years (2001-03). Attracting some of the nation's most talented athletes to Wheaton, which included several eventual U.S. Olympic trials qualifiers and two trials finalists, Souza coached his athletes to an incredible 84 national event championships and 284 All-America honors.
"I appreciate the hard work and dedication that Paul made to Wheaton and our track & field program," said Executive Director of Athletics Chad Yowell. "When he arrived, we were not much more than a club program, and he quickly turned us into national champions. Paul experienced a great deal of success over a sustained period of time. I wish him success in his future endeavors."
Souza, whose expertise is with jumps, led the Lyon women to four runner-up finishes at the national championship and a pair of third-place marks. He also guided the Lyons to 11 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crowns. Leading the men to six national finishes of tied for 10th or higher in the last 12 years and the outdoor squad to four top-eight placements since 2000, Souza guided the 2002 indoor team to fourth place and the outdoor squad to fifth.
Voted the United States Track Coaches Association (USTCA) National Indoor Coach of the Year in 2002 and the top coach in the conference and region nine and six times, respectively, Souza is a USA Track & Field (USATF) Level I and II certified coach and former national vertical jumps chair for men's development. He has remained involved with the USATF, including serving as an assistant coach for the 2005 World University Games in Izmir, Turkey.
In 1987, Souza founded the Elite Track & Field Series, which has become one of the premier clinics in the country. Souza earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Pennsylvania State University in 1983 and a master's degree from Eastern Nazarene College two years later.