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Cal Poly to Dedicate Steve Miller & John Capriotti Athletics Facility

Cal Poly to Dedicate Steve Miller & John Capriotti Athletics Facility

Dedication Ceremony Scheduled for March 24 During 36th Annual Invitational

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly will soon dedicate its newly renovated track and field complex as Steve Miller Track within the overall surrounding Steve Miller & John Capriotti Athletics Facility. The upcoming dedication was announced Thursday by Cal Poly Director of Athletics Don Oberhelman and university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong.

The dedication ceremony will be held at 1:40 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 during the 36th annual Cal Poly ShareSLO Invitational.

Miller, a five-time national championship-winning head coach for Cal Poly from 1976-81, has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for USA Track & Field since 2015. Capriotti, an All-American for the Mustangs in 1978, was appointed Vice President and Global Director of Athletics/Running Track and Field at Nike in 2010. Both have been leading donors toward the renovation of the complex.

"The generosity of Coach Miller and John Capriotti is a key reason the renovation of the Cal Poly track came to fruition along with the efforts from other donors and the university," said Mark Conover, Cal Poly Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. "Their willingness to give back to the sport and to the university where they had much success is a true testimony to 'The Mustang Way,' one of the tenets of which is 'When Mustangs support Mustangs, the Cal Poly community is strengthened.' "

"From the time John followed Coach Miller, his coach at Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois to San Luis Obispo, their experiences at Cal Poly, including the lives that Coach Miller impacted and the teammates that John had an influence on, were instrumental in shaping their careers," Conover added. "Among their many accomplishments, they continue to be influential to the sports of track and field and cross country at the national and international levels."

Ongoing renovations for the complex (which will be dedicated coinciding with the program's Alumni Weekend) broke ground this past July.

"The names Miller and Capriotti have long been associated with international excellence in track and field," Oberhelman said. "It is a privilege for us to honor their time at Cal Poly with this sparkling new facility. We thank our campus partners, our donors, and our track and field alumni who supported us in this endeavor."

Miller belongs to five Halls of Fame, including those of Cal Poly (Class of 1998) and the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (2005).

Miller guided Cal Poly to back-to-back cross country national titles in the falls of 1978 and 1979, as well as three straight NCAA championships in track & field from 1979-81. His squads also won a combined eight California Collegiate Athletic Association crowns: four straight in cross country from 1977-80 and four more in consecutive fashion for track & field from 1978-81.

In addition to Capriotti, also among Miller's student-athletes were four Cal Poly Hall of Fame inductees: Danny Aldridge (still the all-time CCAA 1,500-meter record-holder, at 3:40.67); Carmelo Rios (the 3,000m steeplechase school record-holder, at 8:28.89, and a 1984 Olympian); Jim Schankel (the CCAA All-Sports Athlete of the Year for 1978-79, who graduated owning six school records); and Bart Williams (an Olympic qualifier for Team USA in the 400m hurdles in 1980, ranked No. 6 in the world in 1981).

Miller earned a Master of Science in physical education from Cal Poly in 1978. He went on to become the head coach at Kansas State from 1981-86 and then the Wildcats' athletics director from 1987-90. From 1991-2000, Miller was the director of global sports marketing for Nike, and then served as CEO of the Professional Bowlers Association from 2000-05.

Named CEO of Agassi Graf Holdings in 2008, Miller also taught as an adjunct professor of sports marketing at the University of Oregon prior to becoming USATF's Chairman of the Board of Directors. The track and field themselves, part of the all-encompassing Miller & Capriotti Athletics Facility, are specifically named in his honor.

Capriotti graduated from Cal Poly with a Bachelor of Science in physical education in 1981.

In 1977, Capriotti helped lead Cal Poly to its first cross country conference championship in eight years with a score of 31 points. He went on to earn All-American honors in 1978 when he ran Pennsylvania's 10k Meadowlane Course in 31:36.0 to take seventh place at the NCAA finals (where the Mustangs claimed the national title via 42 points).

Upon graduation, Capriotti also ranked in the top five in school history for two track events, as he was No. 3 all-time in the 1,500 meters and No. 4 in the 5,000m. Additionally, along with Aldridge and former teammates Russell Harris and Dave Marlow, Capriotti contributed to a school record-setting distance medley relay team (9:45.1) in 1978.

Capriotti began his career at Nike in 1992 as a USA Athletics/Running Track and Field Rep, before becoming European Athletics/Running Track and Field Manager (1997-98), USA Director of Athletics/Running Track and Field (1998-2000) and Global Director of Athletics/Running Track and Field (2000-10), before being named Vice President and Global Director of Athletics/Running Track and Field.

Altogether at Nike, athletes signed under Capriotti's guidance have won more than 350 individual track & field Olympic medals in six Olympic Games, as well as 700-plus medals in 13 IAAF World Championships. In addition, athletes managed by Capriotti at Nike have set more than 25 world records or road racing world bests, and have won over 600 Big City Marathons.

An alumnus of Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, Ill. (where he ran for Miller), Capriotti was an all-state cross country runner for the Blazing Trojans in 1974, and then was an NJCAA All-American in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track for Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Ill. from 1976-77. He's now enshrined in both institutions' halls of fame.

Capriotti also had an extensive collegiate coaching career, beginning as a graduate assistant on Miller's staff (1982-84) at Kansas State. He became the head women's coach at Northwestern from 1984-86 before returning to Kansas State as head coach from 1986-92.

Concurrently in the late '80s and early '90s, Miller, Capriotti and Oberhelman all were at Kansas State together. Simultaneously while Miller served as the Wildcats' director of athletics, Oberhelman was attending the university (graduating in 1993), as Capriotti was the head track coach.

During his time as the head coach at K-State, Capriotti mentored 40 All-Americans and three individual NCAA champions, and was selected as Big 8 Conference Coach of the Year on two occasions.

Attending Alumni Weekend

Cal Poly's home invitational (founded on a yearly basis in 1983 as the Poly Royal Invitational) will include a free reunion for alumni on neighboring Doerr Family Field from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 24.

The meet will be followed by a banquet at 6 p.m. in the Multi-Activity Center within the nearby Recreation Center. Cost to attend the banquet is $25. To purchase tickets, click here. For more information about the event, contact Mustang assistant coach Priscilla Bayley at (805) 459-2961 or pbayley@calpoly.edu.

A schedule for the home-opening meet can be found HERE.

How to Contribute

While a total of almost $1.3 million has been pledged to Miller & Capriotti Athletics Facility, nearly $350,000 is still needed for further amenities including a scoreboard and bleachers, in addition to numerous equipment items. Such pieces range from various pads, bars, covers, carts, poles, markers, weights and implements pertaining to multiple events. For more information, click here.

Gifts can be made during a span of up to three years, and are tax-deductible through the Cal Poly Foundation. All go 100 percent toward completing the facility.

In association with Cal Poly Corporation, Associated Students, Inc. and Cal Poly Housing, the project is part of the comprehensive reshaping of the southeast corner of campus (adjacent to the 435,000-square-foot student housing site set to debut this summer in order to accommodate 1,475 new students).

Among the complex's improvements (which open up the potential for Cal Poly to host Big West Conference Championship meets in the decade ahead), Beynon Sports installed a new track surface, and a newly renovated hybrid Bermuda field was put into place inside the oval.

In addition to THIS LINK, individuals with a desire to further support the facility can also contact Ashley Offermann, Cal Poly associate athletics director for development, at aofferma@calpoly.edu or (805) 440-9792.

About Cal Poly Track & Field

Cal Poly Track & Field has produced 11 Olympians since 1968, as well as 72 NCAA Division I All-Americans all-time. Additionally, Mustang alumni have combined to win 13 team NCAA championships in track & field, plus 96 individual national titles.

Cal Poly has seen 10 of its track & field student-athletes earn Big West Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards since 2000, while the women's squad has earned full USTFCCCA Scholar-Athlete Team honors for seven straight seasons entering the spring of 2018.

All-time in track & field since 1949, Cal Poly has won 24 team conference titles between women and men, plus 449 individual conference championships (including five most recently in May 2017).

Additionally, in cross country, Cal Poly has won 12 NCAA team titles along with six individual national championships, plus 49 team conference championships and 36 individual conference titles all-time.

Photo of 1978 NCAA champion Cal Poly cross country team courtesy of Special Collections & Archives, Kennedy Library, Cal Poly. (From left to right: Front row: Danny Aldridge, Jim Schankel, Mitch Kingery, John Capriotti. Back row: Coach Steve Miller, Manny Bautista, Eric Huff, Robby Bray.)