When the Texas A&M men won the NCAA Championship this past June it marked the 12 national title VanHootegem has been a part of in his 23 years of coaching while the women’s SEC Outdoor championship in May was the 31st conference title for VanHootegem.
“I’m very happy for Jim and his family,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said. “I’m sorry to lose him as a member of our staff, but he has worked very hard and put himself in a position to be selected as the head coach at the University of Oklahoma. Jim is a purest in our sport and has always been able to develop the individual athlete, but also understands the team aspect of our sport.
“My staff and I want to wish Jim good luck in this endeavor. Oklahoma has just hired a great track and field coach.”
Having joined the Texas A&M staff in the fall of 2004, VanHootegem assisted with the development of a national-caliber program that won conference and national championships. When the Aggies won the men’s and women’s title in 2009 another pair of titles followed in 2010 and 2011 as Texas A&M became the first school in track and field to claim three consecutive double championships.
“I want to thank Coach Pat Henry for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to coach at Texas A&M University,” said VanHootegem. “I can’t put into words how much it has meant to me to be a part of developing this program into something that serves as a source of pride for an institution like Texas A&M.
“I am extremely grateful for the relationships I have developed with Coach Henry, the assistant coaches and support staff. I especially appreciate all of the student-athletes who put their trust in us to work hard and follow the plan each day.”
A seventh NCAA Outdoor title was garnered this past season, the fourth men’s national title for the Aggies, while the women were NCAA runner-up. When the women’s team claimed its first SEC title during the outdoor season, it was the 15th conference title the program has achieved since Coach Henry and his staff arrived in 2004.
Athletes competing in the event areas coached by VanHootegem at Texas A&M, which include the jumps and multi-events, achieved 57 All-America honors and established 13 school records, eight indoors and five outdoors.
“I will never forget the thrill of the men’s and women’s teams winning their first national championships together in 2009 and the championships that followed, but what I will take away the most was the journey we all shared all along the way,” noted VanHootegem.
“I look forward to taking all that I have learned here at Texas A&M as I begin the role of leading the University of Oklahoma’s program. Very much like Texas A&M, OU is committed to the development of championship teams while maintaining the integrity and values of its educational mission.”
This will be the second head coaching post for VanHootegem, who was head coach at North Park University in Chicago (1991-94). Previous assistant coaching positions prior to Texas A&M included Miami, Florida (2001-04), San Diego State (2001), Mississippi State (1998-2000), and Arkansas (1994-96).