Excerpted from O-Live:
LINKFormer Oklahoma State distance star Ryan Vail still competes professionally for Brooks, but already he is laying the groundwork for life after running.
Vail has joined the University of Portland coaching staff this spring, and will help tutor UP runner Trevor Dunbar, 11th in the 5,000 meters at the 2010 IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships last summer.
“I’m going to work closely with Trevor,” Vail said. “I’ll do some long workouts with him.”
For Vail, 24, it’s a return to his roots. He graduated from Centennial High School in Gresham before competing for Oklahoma State, where he an All-America selection in both cross country and track and placed fifth in the 5,000 meters at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Vail was part of the Oklahoma State team that won the 2009 NCAA cross country title. Last month he qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials with a sixth-place finish in the USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston.
He is the second high-profile addition to UP men’s coach Rob Conner’s staff. Jonathon Riley, a 2004 Olympian in the 5,000 meters, came aboard in the fall.
“Those two guys will be a great resource to help Trevor get to the top,” Conner said.
Vail and his wife, former Oklahoma State runner Eva Vail, were looking for a place to settle that would allow both to train, him, perhaps, to begin coaching, and her to pursue a career in international business.
He phoned Conner and asked if UP could use a volunteer coach. The rest fell into place.
“We get along really well,” Vail said. “Rob has a similar coaching philosophy to my coach, Dave Smith. I knew I could work well with him. He recruited me, and it was a close call as to whether I would be going there.”
Smith still coaches Vail. They communicate by phone and e-mail.
“It’s mostly just writing workouts,” Vail said. “I’ve been in his program long enough I know what to do.”
Now he is trying to pass the knowledge along. Vail said he was a quasi coach toward the end of his college running career, and he liked it. Smith saw promise.
“He always told me it’s something I would be good at,” he said.
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