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Brian Blutreich, a former Olympic discus thrower who has also coached three Olympians, enters his fifth season at the University of Oklahoma overseeing events in the throws area. In four seasons at OU, Blutreich (pronounced BLUE-trick) has coached an NCAA champion (Brittany Borman, 2011), 17 All-Americans, 12 Big 12 Conference champions and five NCAA runner-up finishers.
The 2011 season saw one the best by Oklahoma's throwing corps as the group earned six All-America honors, won five Big 12 championships and broke five program records during the year.
Brittany Borman became Oklahoma's 34th NCAA champion and first in the javelin with a personal-best throw of 178-2 (54.32). Borman also became the first athlete in Big 12 history to win the conference's discus and javelin titles in the same year. Borman defended her discus title with a throw of 180-6 (55.02) and won the second straight javelin title for the Sooners with a throw of 163-8 (49.90). Borman also earned all-conference honors in the indoor shot put after finishing eighth with a throw of 50-8.25 (15.45).
Tia Brooks won the indoor conference title in the shot put with a throw of 57-1.00 (17.40), a personal best. She tied that mark with a second-place finish in the event at the NCAA Championships. During the outdoor season, Brooks finished second in the shot put at the NCAA Championships with a school-record throw of 59-0.75 (18.00). She also earned all-conference honors in the event, finishing second at the Big 12 Championships with a throw of 57-2.00 (17.42).
During the indoor season, Karen Shump earned All-America honors in the shot put with a seventh place finish at nationals. Shump also broke her previous school record with a throw of 58-11.50 (17.97), the second best indoor mark in the NCAA in the event during 2011.
K.P. Singh earned second team All-America honors in the discus, hammer throw and weight throw. Singh defended his Big 12 hammer title with a winning throw of 211-6 (64.46) and captured All-Big 12 honors in the discus and hammer throw. During the indoor season, Singh also repeated as the Big 12 weight throw champion with a mark of 65-11.75 (20.11). Conrad Aaron also All-Big 12 honors in the indoor and outdoor shot put. Singh also set a new school record in the weight throw with a toss of 70-8.50 (21.55) at the Sooner Invitational.
The third year in 2010 only helped to strengthen the foundation as Blutreich's athletes combined to earn eight All-America honors and six Big 12 Conference titles while breaking five program records. Blutreich's group of female throwers single-handily willed the women's team to its ninth-place finish with 26 points at the outdoor meet, all from Blutreich's throwers.
Sixteen of the 26 points came from Borman, who after winning the Big 12 title in the discus, finished second in both the discus and the javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. It capped a successful first year at OU for Borman who ended the year as the program record holder in the discus.
Borman was one of two Sooners with a second-place finish at the biggest outdoor meet of the season as redshirt-freshman Shump claimed silver in the shot put. Also adding their names to the list of All-Americans at the event were Amy Backel (javelin) and Singh (hammer throw).
The Big 12 Outdoor Championships saw Backel (javelin), Borman (discus) and Shump (shot put) capture three of the four throws conference titles while Singh claimed the conference win in the men's hammer throw.
For Shump and Singh, the outdoor win completed the Big 12 sweep as Shump took the indoor title in the shot put and Singh in the hammer throw. The women's shot put finish gave a look to the future as Shump's classmate, Tia Brooks, finished second in both the indoor and outdoor meets. Singh also swept the OU record books in the events as Brooks broke Shump's record in the shot put at the USA Championships.
Shump and Brooks also both earned All-America honors in the shot put during the indoor season as they finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The duo were joined in the All-American column by Singh who accomplished the feat in the weight throw.
Along with the Big 12 javelin title, Backel closed out her career with the program record in the event and as one of OU's most decorated student-athletes as she became Oklahoma's first ever, male or female, three-time ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-American while holding the OU record in the javelin.
A Blutreich pupil in his first year on the collegiate level in 2009, Luke Bryant captured OU's first conference title in the discus since 1988 when he tossed the implement a distance of 189-2 (57.66) before qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the event.
Bryant was one of three Oklahoma throwers to qualify for the NCAA Championships as Backel (shot put) and Mikaela Johansson (hammer throw) did so as well. The two women also earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors.
Johansson broke program records in both the hammer throw and weight throw while K.P. Singh broke the men's weight throw record during the indoor season. While competing at the U.S. Championships, Shump broke program records in both the indoor and outdoor shot put.
Despite only having three athletes competing for him in 2008, Blutreich still managed to produce headline-grabbing results as all three individuals produced program records in their respective events.
As action in 2008 moved outdoors, Backel, in her first season as a full-time thrower, and junior college transfer Buck Sullivan made their names known in the Oklahoma history books. Throwing the javelin, Backel took all of one meet under Blutreich to produce a program record. The sophomore continued to best her own record in the event throughout the season, eventually ending with a distance of 171-10 (52.39) and the program's first-ever All-America honor in the event.
The year was not done for Backel as she traveled to Eugene, Ore., for the U.S. Olympic Trials where she finished 10th.
The record-setting action started in the indoor season as Johansson quickly took over the top spot on the women's weight throw performance list at 61-5.00 (18.72).
|The Blutreich File
|| January 5, 1967
|| B.A., Psychology
|| wife, Lynda
daughters, Brooke Alexandra and Logan Kate
| Coaching History
| 2007-present, University of Oklahoma
Associate Coach (throws)
| 1996-2007, University of North Carolina
Assistant Coach (throws)
| 1994-96, University of Santa Barbara
Assistant Coach (throws)
| Coaching Accolades
| Has tutored 17 All-Americans at OU
| Coached 12 Big 12 champions at OU
| 2004 and 2007 National Assistant Coach of the Year
| Athletics Career
| Four-year letterwinner at UCLA
| Three-time All-American in both the shot put and discus
| Won back-to-back Pac 10 discus titles
| World University Games discus finalist
Joining Johansson in his first season in the Oklahoma program, Sullivan followed Backel's lead in a quick rewriting of the history books. In just his third outdoor meet on the NCAA level, he set a new program record in the hammer throw with a mark of 195-6 (59.60) before improving to 196-11 (60.02).
Blutreich came to OU after 11 years at the University of North Carolina where, most recently, he served as assistant men's head coach.
Under his direction, UNC became one of the nation's premier collegiate throws programs. In 2007, Blutreich helped Justin Ryncavage defend his ACC and NCAA outdoor titles in the men's javelin as part of dual 1-2 sweeps with teammate Adam Montague, the NCAA East Region Champion and Field Athlete of the Year.
He also guided Nick Owens to two All-America honors (NCAA runner up in the hammer and third in the weight throw) and ACC titles in the weight throw and hammer throw. His labors made him a shoo-in for his second National Assistant Coach of the Year honor as voted by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Owens is currently the UNC program record holder in the hammer throw (233-7/71.21) and second all-time in the weight throw (72-2.75/22.01).
Blutreich's successes envelop a coaching career that has developed seven individual NCAA champions, 30 All-Americans, 45 Atlantic Coast Conference event champions and 112 All-ACC performers. Blutreich-coached athletes set all 12 possible UNC throws events records and helped the Tar Heels to 14 men's and women's ACC team championships.
The 2006 season saw Blutreich-coached athletes win three NCAA outdoor titles, the first time North Carolina produced three national champions at the same meet. Laura Gerraughty (women's shot put), Vikas Gowda (men's discus) and Ryncavage (javelin) reached the top step of the winner's podium becoming only the second program ever to win three or more throws titles in a year with three different athletes. Gerraughty would set the NCAA record in the shot put at the event with a throw of 62-10.00 (19.15) while Gowda established progam records in the shot put, both indoor (64-3.75) and outdoor (64-4.50), and the discus (212-3).
Owens, who later won gold at the NACAC Under-23 Championships, earned third place in the hammer throw to give the Tar Heels four All-America throwers.
In 2005, four UNC throwers earned All-America honors including Gowda, the Penn Relays' Most Outstanding Male Field Athlete and World Championships qualifier, and Jocelyn White, the ACC Freshman of the Year, who won silver at the U.S. Junior National Championships and was fourth at the Pan American Junior Games.
Two Blutreich disciples - Gerraughty (United States) and Gowda (India) - competed at the 2004 Olympics as part of one the greatest campaigns in UNC history. Blutreich was honored as a National Assistant Coach of the Year after guiding Gerraughty to a sweep of NCAA indoor and outdoor national shot put titles and the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Championships title, becoming the first collegiate athlete to win the women's shot put.
Several other Tar Heel throwers thrived under Blutreich in 2004. Owens was named the ACC Outdoor Freshman of the Year after winning the hammer throw. He was also the U.S. Junior National champion in the hammer, establishing a national junior record in the process. Amy Parulis won the ACC title in the hammer; Marija Kurtovic (women's discus) and Karen Wyzykowski (women's javelin) were all-conference honorees.
In 2003, Ryncavage became the U.S. national junior champion in the javelin and was the silver medalist at the Pan American Junior Games. Gerraughty's first NCAA indoor shot put title and Wyzykowski's U.S. national junior record-setting javelin throw also highlighted the season.
In addition to his work at North Carolina, Blutreich was the men's throws coach for Team USA at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica.
Under his direction, Blutreich's wife, Lynda Lipson-Blutreich, became a three-time U.S. champion in the javelin. Lipson-Blutreich competed in the 2000 Olympics, has been on two World Championship and two Pan American teams, and is a former American record holder.
A native of Mission Viejo, Calif., Blutreich attended UCLA from 1986-90, earning All-America honors three times each in the shot put and discus. Blutreich also won back-to-back Pac-10 discus titles in 1989 and 1990.
In Blutreich's four years, the Bruins won two NCAA national outdoor championships and three consecutive Pac-10 titles.
He graduated from UCLA in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
In 1991, Blutreich was a discus finalist at the World University Games in Sheffield, England.
The couple have two daughters, Brooke Alexandra and Logan Kate.