This is Avery Blackwell's third season as an assistant coach for the UC Santa Barbara track and cross country programs. Blackwell began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Santa Clara University where he worked with both the men¹s and women¹s track and field teams. The distance runners that he worked with set several records during the 2006 season. In 2004-05, Blackwell worked as the equipment manager for the cross country and track and field programs at Stanford. In 2004, he co-founded ALTITUDE Project, a Christian running camp for collegiate athletes, which he has directed for the past four summers in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Blackwell is a very successful distance runner in his own right. He competed at Cal Poly from 1997-2002. In 1998 he finished fourth at the Big West Cross Country Championship, helping the Mustangs to their first-ever Big West team championship. In the spring of 1999, Blackwell placed first in the 10,000 meters at the league¹s track and field championships and the following fall, he finished fifth at the Big West cross country championships and helped Cal Poly to its first NCAA Championship meet. In 2000, Blackwell finished third at the Big West Track Championships in the 10,000 meters. The following fall, he placed sixth at the NCAA Western Regional Cross Country meet. In 2001, he had top-three finishes in both the 10,000 and the 5000 meters at the league championship meet and he set a personal best of 29:22.64 in the 10,000 at the Mt. Sac Relays. In 2002, his final year of collegiate competition, Blackwell finished 3rd in the 10,000 and 4th in the 5000 meters at the Big West Track and Field Championships. He also ran a personal best of 14:13.79 in the 5000 at the Mt. SAC Relays. Blackwell continued his running career following his graduation from Cal Poly, competing for the Nike Farm Team for more than three years. In 2003, he was the top American finisher at the Bay to Breakers 12,000 meters in San Francisco with a time of 36:47. Blackwell also finished fifth in the Bridge to Bridge 12,000 meters in The City. In 2004, the San Luis Obispo native finished 23rd at the USA Cross Country Championships in the 12,000 meters and second at the Chinese New Year 5000 in San Francisco. In his final year of competition, 2005, Blackwell finished among the top-three Americans at the Bay to Breakers and he finished fourth at the HP Up and Running 10,000 meters. Blackwell graduated from Cal Poly in 2002 with a degree in civil engineering. He worked as a staff engineer for Kennedy/Jenks Consultants in Palo Alto. Blackwell also worked for BSF Consulting Engineers in Canterbury, England before deciding that he wanted to return to coaching. Blackwell and his wife, Katie, reside in Goleta.