Departing after a decade

Associate head XC/TF coach steps away from SPU

Uriah Aguon, Staff Writer

SPU Cross Country Head Coach Chris Reed speaks with his team after the Puget Sound Invitational in Seattle on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2023. (Rio Giancarlo)

Associate Head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach Chris Reed joined the coaching staff of Seattle Pacific University in December 2013. The current season marks the beginning of his ninth year as a collegiate coach, his seventh as the university’s distance coach as well as his second as the associate head coach. 

Altogether, Reed has coached SPU’s track and field and cross country teams for nearly ten years. As change often accompanies the turning of a decade, Reed has announced this season to be his final one as a coach for SPU.

Reed said the biggest reason for his departure from SPU is his wife’s career.

“There are several factors that go into it, this is not the type of decision you make on a whim … but the main catalyst is my wife got an amazing job opportunity in Portland, Oregon,” Reed said. “It’s a great job opportunity for her, and we made a family decision that we want to help her pursue that … It’s tough leaving, for sure, it’s been nearly a decade [and] it’s been a tremendous journey. I have some incredible memories here, and I just can’t thank SPU athletics enough for the opportunity to work with some amazing student athletes.” Reed said.

Assistant Coach Kate Carlson has worked with Reed for a little over three years, having joined the coaching staff in the fall of 2019. She said that Reed has been a joy to work with.

“I’m very excited for him and his wife, and I know that it’s a great opportunity for them as a family. I’m really excited for his future, wherever he might end up … It’s been a pleasure to work with him. I’ve grown as an individual and as a coach working beside him.” Carlson said. “Wherever he ends up, he’s going to succeed. There’s a work ethic that he brings with him that makes us as a coaching staff more productive and there’s an energy that he brings that is refreshing … he will be a hard person to replace. I’m looking forward to whoever ends up filling his shoes because they have some big shoes to fill.” 

Graduate psychology major Colin Boutin is in his fifth year running for SPU, having joined the track and field team in 2018. He is now utilizing his additional year of eligibility granted by the NCAA after the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. 

Boutin recalled Reed as the coach who encouraged him to achieve his full potential.

“Chris is amazing … my freshman year coming into college from high school I wasn’t the best … I was on the bottom end … Chris saw the potential in me and saw how, given a little more time and a little more extra development, I could do some great things,” Boutin said. “I would not be anywhere near where I am today if I didn’t have a coach like Chris. He has the patience to … put in that time to develop a slow runner like me to become a fast one.”

In his final weeks at SPU, Reed hopes to finish the season strong.

“As coaches, we do have a very cyclical life … My mindset right now isn’t any different than pany other year. We have four weeks left until the conference meet, and we have some people that are doing very well at the moment. I want to see that through until the end of the season and help them achieve their goals in the weeks we have left. That’s the 100-percent focus right now, and my news doesn’t change that.” Reed said.

Reed hopes to continue coaching in Portland and is confident the team will be in good hands by whoever succeeds him.

“I feel very hopeful that I’ll be coaching again in the fall, but I’ve accepted the fact, if it doesn’t happen, that I know I’m making a good decision for my wife and for my family,” Reed said. “These student athletes mean a lot to me and I have full confidence that Karl and the rest of them are going to work together to find a really good person [for the job]. Whatever the case, I’m sure the student athletes are in very good hands.”