For the past two years, 25-year-old Rick Valcin has been a fixture at the University of Dubuque, Iowa.
The young Saint Lucian was a National Collegiate Athletics Association Division 3 champion in men’s pole vault in 2014, and he reset the school record for that event three times.
The young man was also a two-time all-American, three-time Iowa Conference pole vault champion and a 100m champion as well. Rick was a two-time Drake Relays qualifier and competed for Saint Lucia at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014.
Rick recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports Management and Marketing. His intention was to go on to a masters degree, and eventually work for the Saint Lucia Athletics Association to upgrade programmes and facilities on the island.
Before that, post graduation, Rick had hoped to take a year off school and work on the pole vault full time, with University of Dubuque Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Chad Gunnelson. Plans changed, but the new plan means that Rick is set to become even more of a fixture on campus.
The Gros Islet Secondary School alumnus has been named the latest assistant track and field coach with the UD Spartans. The transition from teammate to coach is one Rick is looking forward to, as he also looks forward to starting a family.
“I am very excited about this opportunity, it will be a great start for my personal development as a coach,” he said. Of coaching, he said: “It is my future goal, also my dream job. However I didn’t see it happening this year. All of this is happening because I have a kid on the way, which I am excited about. I also want to keep vaulting full-time as a coach.”
Rick – well, Coach Valcin – was praised by his coach and now boss, Chad Gunnelson: “Having Coach Valcin join our staff means a lot for our programme,” he said. “He represents the championship standard we expect and his work ethic and mentorship as a teammate will transition so well into being our new pole vault coach.”