Mark Rodriguez begins his first season as an assistant coach in the throws at UTEP. "I'm excited for the opportunity to be here at the University of Texas at El Paso," said Rodriguez. "I appreciate the opportunity to work with Coach Mika (Laaksonen) in the throws. I am also very thrilled to work with the outstanding current throwers at UTEP and to work in a program with such a rich tradition in the throws."
Rodriguez brings a wealth of throws knowledge and experience from conferences like: the Missouri Valley, the Mid American, Big East and Big Ten. Rodriguez has an outstanding 26 years of coaching experience.
Rodriguez came to UTEP from Lafayette, Indiana where he had been the throws coach at Purdue University for three years. During his time at Purdue his women throwers outscored all the other Big Ten school's throwers and accounted for 50% of the team's total points. His freshman thrower won the Big Ten Athlete of the Year after claiming gold in the weight throw at the 2011 Big Ten Women's Indoor Championships.
While at Purdue, Rodriguez coached four All-Americans, three Big Ten runners-up and a Big Ten Champion. He also recruited four top-ten throwers in the nation while at Purdue.
At Miami University, Rodriguez rebuilt the throwing squad from the ground up. He converted high jumpers, hurdlers and triple jumpers into throwers who all became ranked on Miami's top-10 list in the weight, javelin and hammer throw. In addition, he was very successful on the recruiting front, signing five top 25 ranked athletes, one of which was ranked No. 1 in the nation. His athletes broke a school records, posted multiple NCAA Championship qualifications and made 64 entries or improvements on Miami's all-time top-10 lists.
At the University of Louisville, Rodriguez helped the Cardinals become one of the elite programs in the Big East. Coached 25 school record holders, nine meet records, added 40 Big East Conference place-winners, 29 All-Conference honorees, and nine Big East Champions. Rodriguez's throwers qualified for 17 NCAA Regionals, two U.S. Junior Nationals, nine NCAA Nationals, three U.S. Championships and 11 Canadian Nationals. His athletes there have finished on Tilastopaja's World Rankings 31 times.
While at Indiana State University, Coach Rodriguez had throwers enter or improve on the top 10 list 517 times, set school records in the throws 51 times, break meet records 37 times and break All-Time MVC records 13 times. He mentored 205 MVC place-winners, 93 All-Conference honorees and 35 MVC Conference Champions. His throwers went on to qualify for 21 NCAA Regional meets, five U.S. Junior Nationals, 14 NCAA Nationals, 32 U.S. Championships and six Olympic trials. Gus athletes have finished on Tilastopaja's World Rankings 62 times. While at ISU, the program won six 6 MVC Championships, and finished in the top 20 in the nation four times.
His other two coaching opportunities came at the NCAA Division III level, serving at Buena Vista University and Manchester University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1994. Rodriguez started his collegiate throwing career at Purdue University, but transferred to Manchester after a serious hand injury ended his throwing career early. He is certified by USA Track & Field as a Level I & Level II Coach, Level I Instructor and as a National Level Official in which he was voted the 2004 Official of the Year for Indiana for all the improvements he made in coordinating the officials for the NCAA Cross Country Nationals. Six of Rodriguez's former athletes have been inducted into their respective school's Athletics Hall of Fame.
Lisa, his wife of three years and a Pediatrician, was born and raised in El Paso. So, when she was offered the opportunity to come back to her hometown and join the newly opened Children's Hospital in El Paso, they made the decision to make the move.