Email Coach Pickens | (405) 325-8205
Pickens joined the Sooner staff in July 2005 as the program's director of operations, overseeing administrative duties, student-athlete relations, event planning and travel before taking over his current responsibilities in the summer of 2008.
The OU women’s cross country team ranked in the top 12 of the Midwest Region for seven weeks, ranking as high as No. 9 during the 2011 season.
The Sooner women concluded their season at the NCAA Midwest Regional with a strong performance by Jessica Engel, who automatically qualified as an individual for the Women’s NCAA Championship.
Fourteen Sooners were named to the Academic All-Big 12 team. Eleven Sooners earned first-team honors with sophomore Hilary Krein honored as one of 10 student-athletes with a 4.0 grade point average.
The 2010 season saw Pickens shape another OU runner into a contender as Engel finished 12th in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Engel's time of 16:13.28 was the second fastest in OU history as the sophomore recorded the top finish by a Big 12 underclassman.
Under Pickens' watch, three Sooners earned Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2009 as Lauren Watson and Molly Ferguson advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional.
Taking over the women's distance group just prior to the beginning of the 2008 women's cross country season, Pickens led the group to three top-five finishes and helped sophomore Kelly Waters become just the fourth runner in OU history to receive All-Big 12 honors with a fifth-place finish at the conference championship.
Waters' Big 12 finish was the second best in OU history as the sophomore qualified for the NCAA Championships with an All-Region performance at the NCAA Midwest Regional.
Pickens joined the Sooners after serving four years with Martin Smith at the University of Oregon.
In 2001, the Beaverton, Ore., native joined the Ducks as a volunteer men's distance coach. That season, the cross country squad made its 27th national championship appearance and finished 13th in the 31-team field. The team also claimed third place in the Pac-10 Conference and West Region at meets that boasted five and seven, respectively, top-25 ranked teams.
On the track, 10,000-meter runner Jason Hartmann tallied his second top-four NCAA finish (fourth) and was second among the collegians at the USA Track and Field Championships (eighth). Five other Oregon distance runners - Adam Bergquist (3,000 meters), Eric Logsdon (5,000 meters), John Lucas (5,000 meters) and Noel Paulson (mile) - registered either indoor or outdoor NCAA provisional marks.
Pickens has an extensive knowledge of endurance training, kinesiology and physiology as well as a background in teaching and computer programming.
Before joining the Ducks' staff, Pickens assisted Oregon-area post-collegiate coach Dr. Richard Brown, who has trained several Olympians. Earlier in his career, Pickens also served as an advisor to former Eugene, Ore., resident Steve Plascencia, a two-time Olympian and World Championships qualifier in the 5,000 and 10,000.
In 1998, Pickens earned a master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of Oregon, with a graduate thesis on endurance training and its effect on calcium uptake in skeletal muscle.
He received his bachelor's degree from Oregon State University in physical education in 1986 and served as a teaching assistant in the respiratory dynamics lab. He has had various articles published on training, including one in the Medicine and Science and in Sport and Exercise journal.
Pickens began his initial association with the University of Oregon as a graduate and undergraduate computer instructor from 1987 to 1993 in statistical, physical education and writing courses. Afterwards, he continued to serve as an instructor in the University's Continuation Center for Microsoft Word, Excel and Works classes.
As an athlete, Pickens competed in 5,000- and 10,000-meter races from 1984 to 1992 and still runs recreationally.
Pickens and his wife, Becky, have two sons, Isaiah and Aiden.
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 20, 2013