EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon's nationally ranked track & field and cross country programs have hired three talented individuals to its administrative staff, Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna announced Tuesday.
Jody Smith has been named assistant athletic director for track and field and cross country, Jill Steele joins the staff as director of operations and Alex Whipple becomes Oregon's assistant director of operations.
"I'm very excited about our three new staff members," said Lananna. "They represent a broad administrative background and understand how to successfully support our national championship-level track and cross country programs.
"Jody, Jill and Alex bring great energy to our office and they all are committed to producing the best track and field meets at Hayward Field and Track Town, USA."
Smith will oversee the integration of the program's administrative areas within the athletics department and serve as the home event meet director. She will play a vital role in Oregon's hosting of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, as well as next year's inaugural Pac-12 Track & Field Championships.
Smith comes to Oregon after spending much of the past decade as an administrator at Stanford and San Jose State. She was most recently San Jose State's associate athletic director for events and facilities, spending two years with the Western Athletic Conference school, where she served as the tournament manager for the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Division I Championship First and Second Round games played in San Jose's HP Pavilion.
She came to SJSU after a long tenure at Stanford, where she held a number of positions, including director of special events for the Cardinal Athletic Department, manager of the Avery Aquatic Center, and associate director for the Stanford Track & Field Foundation, as well as working with the Stanford Alumni Association.
The 1991 Stanford University graduate was a six-time All-America swimmer for the Cardinal. She still swims competitively in Masters competitions and set world records in long and short course pools for the 200 backstroke in 2009.
"Jody is an experienced manager in a collegiate athletics with a proven history of organizing and leading project teams," said Lananna. "She is a team-oriented administrator with a successful track record of hosting collegiate, professional and international events."
Smith, a native of Portland, Ore., replaces Michael Reilly, who resigned in June to take a position with the 2012 London Olympics.
Steele spent the last two years working with the University of Oklahoma's track and field teams.
The Seattle, Wash., native will be responsible for many of the day-to-day operations of the track and cross country teams, including administrative support, team travel and logistics, as well as projects relating to the 2012 Olympic Trials and Pac-12 Track & Field Championships.
Steele began her time with the Sooners as a graduate assistant, studying intercollegiate athletic administration, before moving into a full-time position as director of track and field operations. While earning her Master's degree from Oklahoma, she served as a graduate assistant with academics, where she advised and monitored student-athlete academic progress. Additionally, she mentored student-athletes with learning disabilities and international English second-language students-athletes.
She was the meet director for the 2011 Big 12 Track & Field Championships.
Steele was a member of the cross country and track and field teams at Utah State. She won the Joe E. Whitesides Scholar-Athlete Award four years in a row, from 2003 to 2006. She was named to the Western Athletic Conference all-academic team in both 2005 and 2006 and graduated from Utah State in 2006 with a degree in health, physical education and recreation.
After graduation, Steele spent one season as head cross country coach at Overlake High School in Redmond, Wash. Steele has also volunteered for the American Cancer Society as an event chairperson for its "Relay For Life" fund-raiser event.
Whipple joined the track & field staff in the spring of 2011 as an administrative assistant. His new assignment includes roles in home meets, special events and community relations, in addition to providing office support and maintaining relationships with officials, donors, visiting teams, and alumni.
Whipple is a 2011 graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in sports business. Prior to joining the track & field staff, Whipple worked with the Ducks' successful football program and was also an electrocardiogram technician at Sacred Heart Medical Center. The Eugene, Ore., native played football for Sheldon High School where he was the league's defensive MVP and was also that school's freshman coach in 2010.
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