With the distinction of being the first head coach to lead three different Division-I programs to national rankings and the NCAA Championship meet, Del Hessel will step down as head track & field coach at CSU after the upcoming outdoor season.
"After 40 years of coaching, I'm ready to retire," Hessel said. "I'm happy with where the program is. It's time to give someone a little younger their chance."
The timing of his announcement was strange to some, but for Hessel, it was important that he "give some notice to administration and my athletes so that it wouldn't be a complete surprise to them in the spring." He also wants his athletes to be focused on their events and not their leaving coach during the outdoor season. This early announcement will give his athletes some time to accept his decision.
Hessel's impressive career in track & field started where it will apparently finish – at CSU. As a distance runner, Hessel set the school record in the 800-meter run in 1963. His record stood 35 years until it was finally broken in 1998.
During his career, Hessel's teams produced 65 all-American athletes in a wide range of events. Hessel has earned international recognition as a member of the World Cup coaching staff, as well as serving as head coach at the Olympic Sports festival.
As for life after track, Hessel hasn't put much thought into how he'll spend his time.
"We still have a couple weeks left in the indoor season and the entire outdoor season," Hessel said. "So, I still have a lot of work to do before I start thinking about what happens next."
Last week the Rams were scheduled to compete in the Robert Shine Invitational, but never got there thanks to a broken down bus. This week, Hessel's team will prepare for the Mountain West Conference Championships in Albuquerque, NM.