Loyalty and dedication are two of the biggest qualities that Julian Spooner looks for in his athletes.
It’s those same two qualities that got Spooner where he is today as he enters his 15th season at the helm of the Virginia Commonwealth University men’s track and field program.
Since taking over as head coach in 1993, the two-time CAA Coach of the Year has guided the VCU men’s and women’s teams to a combined seven conference championships and nine individual All-Americans.
In just his first season as the head coach of the men’s and women’s track and field programs, he aided the Black and Gold women to a sweep of the 1993 Metro Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
He followed that up with back-to-back Metro Conference Outdoor Championships on the men’s side (1994, 1995), along with the 1994 Metro Indoor Championship. All-in-all the young head coach tallied five conference championships in just his first three seasons in the Black and Gold.
With the construction of VCU’s Sports Backers Stadium in 1999, Spooner was able to have a recruiting tool and used it to his advantage landing legendary women’s track athlete Maria-Elena Calle, who went on to capture six All-American awards in her career. He also recruited All-American performers in middle distance runners Jesus Ortega and Bruce Berger, along with sprinter Mustapha Jinadu.
After a 10-year hiatus from the championship podium, Spooner led the Rams to a thrilling victory at the 2006 CAA Championships led by Richmond natives Davion Lambert and James Frierson, two of the best athletes ever to come through VCU.
Lambert was an NCAA participant on four occasions and currently holds six school records, while Frierson was named the 2006 Co-Most Outstanding performer at the CAA Championships and is the school record holder in the four events.
Spooner, himself, is no stranger to world-class track and field as he won the British and European junior championships in the 800-meters before coming to the United States in 1978. While attending the University of Richmond, he earned All-American status five times and was the top-ranked 800-meter runner in the world as a freshman.
The climax of his collegiate career came in 1981 when he anchored a four-man, two-mile relay team which set a world indoor record at the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City. That same year his Richmond relay team captured the NCAA Championship.
The native of London, England graduated from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in physical education.