Track head coach Ligeti leaves before season ends, leads to new sprints coach 

May 7, 2024 — by Annika Gho and Caitlin Stoiber
Courtesy of Andy Ligeti
Ligeti was let go from the team on April 1.
Kathy Tippetts took the reins as the only head coach for the remainder of the season.

Two days before the track and field team’s last league meet on April 3 against Santa Clara and Milpitas, the school parted ways with new head coach for undisclosed reasons. Although he is no longer coaching the team, Ligeti was recently working as a substitute teacher for the district.

The announcement of Ligeti’s departure was abrupt and not discussed much further with the team. At the beginning of one of their practices during their normal team huddle with the coaches, head coach Kathy Tippets told the team that Ligeti would no longer be their coach, and that was the only information they received. 

Tippetts, who handles the logistics and communication of the team, took over the role of sole head coach for the remainder of the season. 

Ligeti was initially hired as the sprints coach for the team. However, because Ligeti was primarily a distance runner who only ever ran marathons, runners said his strategies often confused sprinters. 

“[Ligeti] would try to teach distance running strategies and then integrate them into sprints, which doesn’t really work. [However], he probably would have been a good distance coach for another team,” junior sprints captain Kitty Gechlik said. 

Last year’s head coaches Archie Ljepava and Ian Tippetts did not return to their former positions this year, but have remained part of the coaching staff. Ljepava wanted to spend more time on his son’s baseball career while Tippetts shifted his attention to train for the True Grit 100 mile mountain bike race. Former sprint coach Rick Ellis also did not return to the team this year as he needed to focus on other matters as the school’s athletic director. 

After Ligeti’s departure, the coaching of sprinters was handled by Osayi Omorodion, a current hurdler and jumper for the Division I San Jose State University track and field team. 

“She implemented workouts that us captains recognized as things we’ve done in previous years,” Gechlik said. “It’s just a little unfortunate that she became our main coach so late; if she was our main coach earlier, we would have performed much better at league finals on April 24 and 26.”

According to Tippetts, the team has a full coaching staff for each individual event, so they will not be seeking additional hires. Staff include hurdles coach Kole Tippetts, distance coach Ian Tippetts, jumps coach Archie Ljepava and throwing coaches Stefany Anserlian and Coach Mika Tippetts. 

Gechlik believes that Ljepava will be returning as the other head coach next year, as he has done in the past, so she is hopeful for the team’s future success. 

“We [varsity girls] have been really strong this year,” Gechlik said. “What I’m most excited for is next year’s performance because everybody will be better trained, and I think we will perform much better than we did this year.”

Tags: coach, track
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