| Jason Vigilante
Full name: Jason Andrew Vigilante
Date of birth: March 25, 1973
Hometown: Morristown, N.J.
High School: Morristown High School (Morristown, N.J.)
College: North Carolina State '96
When University of Texas supporters look back at the Longhorns' distance program, associate head coach Jason Vigilante will be credited with the building a national powerhouse. Since joining the program in 1999, the Longhorns have transitioned from not competing for two consecutive seasons at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships to four consecutive top-20 finishes from 2004-07 and five consecutive cross country All-America performances.
For his progress with the program, University of Texas head men's track and field coach Bubba Thornton named him head cross country and associate head track and field coach in 2004, the same year Texas resurged as a staple among the national powers. Vigilante is in charge of the Longhorns' middle distance and distance units and leads UT's cross country program.
Vigilante brings an enthusiastic and energetic coaching style to Texas. Not only was he a top-notch collegiate athlete at N.C. State from 1994-96, but he also has coaching experience at a top-10 distance program during his coaching career.
Under his tutelage, the Longhorns have qualified for six NCAA Cross Country Championships in the last seven years, while finishing in the national top 25 five times. His cross country squads have been recognized for their success in the classroom as well, garnering Academic All-America honors in 2001-02 and 2002-03. Vigilante also helped guide the distance medley relay team to six top-11 finishes at the NCAA Indoor Championships and the school record in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007.
In his first season as UT's men's cross country coach, Vigilante led the Longhorns to a fourth-place finish at the Big 12 Championships and their first NCAA Championships appearance since 1996. The Horns finished in 22nd place at the national meet and won two events during the regular season (Texas Invitational/Wolverine Interregional).
The momentum from the success in the fall carried over into the spring, as Vigilante coached the men's distance medley relay team to the Big 12 indoor crown and an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Outdoors, Jeff Wood qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 1,500m under Vigilante's guidance. Vigilante guided the men's squad to a return trip to the NCAA Championships in the fall of 2001. Armed with a young but talented group of runners, Vigilante led UT to its second consecutive runner-up finish at the NCAA South Central Regional and earned an automatic bid to nationals. The Horns went on to finish 28th at the national meet in Greenville, S.C.
The 2001 squad was also tabbed Academic All-America by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association (USCCCA) for their efforts on the course and in the classroom, and Kevin Barra was tabbed Academic All-American for the second consecutive year. Five individuals earned Academic All-Big 12 honors during the season, as well.
On the track, Vigilante guided the distance medley relay team of Jordan McCambridge, Jason Jackson, Brian Rue and Jeff Wood to a second straight eighth-place finish at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships. The foursome set the UT record with a 9:36.09 clocking in that race as all four earned All-America honors for their efforts. Vigilante also tutored four all-conference performers in Kevin Barra, Ben Dawson, Wood and Zach Zeller at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships.
In the fall of 2002, the cross country team posted a Big 12-best second-place finish behind all-conference performances from Kevin Barra and Ben Dawson and earned Academic All-America honors for the second straight year by the USCCCA. The team also was nationally ranked for the majority of the season and qualified for its third straight trip to the NCAA Championships, finishing 23rd, the second top-25 finish in the past three seasons for the Longhorns.
During the 2003 indoor season, Vigilante helped guide Dawson to All-America honors and a Big 12 title in the 5,000m, while Zeller, John Arnold and Ryan Ponsonby earned All-America honors. Dawson also won the 3,000m at the Big 12 meet and set the UT record with a time of 8:07.81. Outdoors, Vigilante helped lead the Longhorns to the Big 12 title, and tutored Barra to All-America honors in the 3000m steeplechase, while guiding Ponsonby, Paul Morrison, Jon Birt and John Rainbolt to all-conference honors. Vigilante led the 2003 cross country squad to gold in two of its first three meets, while guiding the team to top 15 showings at the Roy Griak Invitational and NCAA Pre-National meet. Paul Morrison finished as the runner-up to eventual national champion Dathan Ritzenhein at the Big 12 Championships. He also became the first Longhorn since 1998 to win the NCAA South Central Regional title and garnered All-America honors with a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. In addition, Morrison, Matt Caterisano, Mark Floreani and Jon Von Letscher each earned Academic All-Big 12 honors.
In 2004, Vigilante helped guide UT to fourth-place finishes at both the Big 12 and NCAA Indoor meets. At the Big 12 Championships, milers Zach Zeller and Jonas Hamm scored for the Longhorns, as did John Arnold, who finished in fourth place in the 1,000m, and Tomas Finol in the 800m. Under Vigilante's guidance, Arnold, Ashton Collins, Ryan Ponsonby and Zeller earned All-America honors for their performance in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Their sixth-place finish was the best finish for the Longhorns in the event at the indoor championships. Earlier that season, the same foursome broke the school record at the Alex Wilson Invitational with a time of 9:34.46.
In the outdoor season, Vigilante's group was instrumental in their fourth-place finish at the Big 12 Championships. Zach Zeller became the second straight Longhorn to win a conference crown in the 3,000-meter steeplechase while teammate Mark Floreani finished as the runner up. Jonas Hamm also scored big for the Longhorns with a third-place finish in the 1,500m.
The 2004 cross country season was UT's best since 1991. The Longhorns finished second at both the Big 12 Championship and the NCAA South Central Regional. They followed that up with a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Championships behind an All-America performance from Andrew Middleton. Vigilante also produced his second-straight Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in Mark Nichol.
Vigilante's guidance was instrumental in then-freshman Leonel Manzano's development in 2005, as Manzano captured the NCAA outdoor 1500-meter title. Manzano also set school records in the outdoor 1500 meters and the indoor mile. Vigilante was named the 2005 National Assistant Coach of the Year and Midwest Regional Coach of the Year for distance by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The 2005 cross country season marked Vigilante's most successful campaign with the Longhorns, as he led UT to second-place finishes at the Big 12 Championships and the NCAA South Central Regional Championships, as well as a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships to tie the best finish in school history. Senior Joe Thorne earned All-America honors under Vigilante's tutelage.
The Longhorns enjoyed continued success during the 2006 indoor season, as Manzano took seventh in the mile and the distance medley relay quartet of Darren Brown, Joseph Davis, Kyle Miller and Jake Morse placed seventh at the NCAA Championships. In addition, senior Joe Thorne rewrote the school record in the 3000 meters at the Terrier Invitational.
Vigilante's distance-medley relay recorded a pair of historic victories during the 2006 outdoor season at the Texas Relays and the Penn Relays. UT won the DMR at the Texas Relays for the first time since 1948 and captured the same event at the Penn Relays for the first time ever, as the quartet of sophomores Jake Morse, Joseph Davis, Kyle Miller and Manzano raced to a school-record time of 9:33.10. Manzano went on to garner All-America honors once more in the 1500 meters, and senior Mark Floreani and sophomore Jake Morse each qualified to participate in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Morse earned All-America honors for his efforts.
During the 2007 track and field season, Vigilante coached the distance-medley relay team that broke the Big 12 and Texas school records and led the nation entering the NCAA Championships. Individually, he coached Manzano to his second national title during the indoor season and helped Manzano, Stanley and Hernandez to All-American finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
On the cross country course, the 2007 squad finished third at the Big 12 Championships behind four all-conference selections, and second at the NCAA South Central Region Championship. Six Longhorns earned All-NCAA South Central Region team selections in UT's automatic bid to the NCAA National Championships. Texas ended the year with a 17th-place team finish at nationals marking its fourth consecutive, top-20 team finish. UT also extended its streak of All-American performances as Manzano earned his first cross country national honor.
Prior to joining the Longhorn staff, Vigilante spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at North Carolina State from 1997-99. With the Wolfpack, he worked primarily with the men's distance and cross country units. During that time, N.C. State posted back-to-back top-10 finishes (sixth, 1997/eighth, 1998) at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and two Atlantic Coast Conference cross country titles. In addition, Vigilante had the opportunity to tutor three cross country All-Americans with the Wolfpack.
The Morristown, N.J., native also spent one season as an assistant coach at UNC-Wilmington in 1997. During that campaign, the Seahawks captured their first Colonial Athletics Association outdoor conference title in school history.
Vigilante entered the coaching ranks following a standout athletics career at North Carolina State. He lettered all three seasons with the Wolfpack and earned All-ACC cross country honors following his senior season.
Vigilante earned his psychology degree from North Carolina State in 1996, and he currently resides in Austin with his wife, Amy, and their two children.