The minute Eric Mobley accepted the head coaching position of the men’s and women’s track and field programs, he also accepted the burdens of reputation, tradition and past successes that come with the College’s track and field teams.
Seven straight women’s indoor track New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships, 21 women’s outdoor Championships in 22 chances, and seven straight men’s outdoor Championships – walking into these expectations could make even the most experienced coach get pre-race jitters.
“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Mobley said. “There’s pressure to continue the tradition and even take it to the next level.”
Mobley was named the head coach in the beginning of November after former head coach Steve Dolan accepted an assistant coaching position at Princeton University.
“We are very pleased that Eric is taking over the reins of the track and field programs and expect that he will continue to build on the tradition of success that both the men’s and women’s program have enjoyed here,” Kevin McHugh, College athletic director, said.
Mobley has served as an assistant coach for the past seven years at various Division I programs like Temple University, University of Akron and LaSalle University. Although all of Mobley’s experience has been at the Division I level, he does not foresee a big change in his transition to Division III.
“The basic difference is the scholarship money,” Mobley said. “It’s all the same selling points and you can still get quality athletes.”
Last year’s indoor track team produced 11 All-Americans and the men and women finished in 28th and 10th place, respectively, at the NCAA National Championships in Wisconsin. The 2004 men’s and women’s outdoor track teams finished the season with 12 All-Americans and two national champions at the national championship meet.
Mobley said that he’s not going to change much from the approach Dolan took with his 2004 champions, but realizes the need to address the coaching transition with his athletes.
“I’m not going to make any big wholesale changes,” Mobley said. “I’m just going to remain open as far as communicating with the athletes.”
Mobley described his coaching style as “intense” and stressed the need for communication in his everyday interactions with his athletes.
“I listen and try to give feedback as far as what athletes are saying,” Mobley said. “It’s how I know when to pull back or push harder.”
On top of his experience at large track programs, Mobley also earned a Level I certification in track and field from the USA Track and Field Coaches Education School.
Mobley also graduated from LaSalle University in 1993 with a few athletic accomplishments of his own. During his collegiate track career, Mobley earned Midwestern Collegiate Conference All-Conference honors and was an All-East performer at the Indoor Championships in the 400-meter run in 1993. He also holds the LaSalle indoor school record in the 400-meter run.
Mobley’s official debut as head coach will be at the indoor track and field New Year Invitational at Princeton University on Dec. 7. By then, Mobley hopes that his strong coaching style and emphasis on communication will bring the Lions toward yet another championship season.
“Everyone knows where I’m coming from and I say what I mean,” Mobley said. “It shouldn’t be a problem.”