Trevor Jones | Posted: 12 Jun 2023 | Updated: 17 Jul 2023

Mark Robison retires after 38 years with BYU track and field

main image
Coach Mark Robison retires after 38 years at BYU
Mark Robison with his dad Clarence (center) and son (left) Mark Robison and Jake Grimsman at 2023 NCAA West Prelims Mark Robison mentors an athlete Mark Robison carries vaulting poles Mark Robison and Cierra Tidwell Allphin Mark Robison sets up hurdles Halley Folsom and Mark Robison at 2022 Indoor Nationals Mark Robison works on high jump Mark Robison Coach Robison poses with another coach Coach Robison Coach Robison watches during competition Mark Robison

PROVO, Utah — Mark Robison, the longtime BYU track and field coach who has mentored numerous national champions and over 150 All-Americans, announced that he will retire as BYU’s associate head coach effective end of July, 2023.

Robison has coached BYU athletes to 10 individual national championships and 156 All-American honors since his full-time hiring in 1988. 94 of the 156 All-American athletes received honors during his time as head coach of the men’s team (2000-13). His tenure also saw BYU collect 240 individual conference championships and 23 as a team. The BYU men won a Mountain West Conference Outdoor team title in each of his 12 seasons as head coach in the league.

He most recently guided pole vaulter Caleb Witsken, high jumper Cierra Tidwell Allphin and decathlete Ben Barton to First Team All-American honors at NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas last week.

“Looking back, the most important things to me are the memories and relationships,” Robison said. “When I think back on athletes I worked with, I don’t remember their personal records, but I remember who they are, what they represent and what they overcame. I’ve cherished having a glimpse into their life, their potential and the amount of good they bring forward.”

Robison is the son of legendary coach Clarence Robison, BYU’s track and field head coach from 1949-1988 and outdoor track facility namesake. Between father and son, BYU track and field athletes have benefited from the two’s watchful tutelage for the past 74 years.

"Mark Robison capped off an illustrious career having been involved with BYU track and field for the last 38 years," said Tom Holmoe, BYU director of athletics. "He has definitely added to the legacy of the Robison name in association with BYU, following successfully in the path his father Clarence established in his Hall of Fame career. We are most grateful for Mark and his devoted service to BYU and the thousands of student athletes he has mentored."

Robison joined his father Clarence’s BYU track and field staff as a part-time assistant in 1985 after competing as a student athlete for the Cougars. He was hired full-time in 1988 and has been with the program since. Totaling 38 years, he has fulfilled various roles, including BYU’s head men’s track and field coach from 2000-13. With the combining of the men’s and women’s programs in 2013, Robison returned to an assistant role where he has since specialized in coaching jumps and multis.

“It would be easy to measure Coach Mark Robison’s success by the number of All-Americans he’s coached and the amount of titles he’s helped the team achieve,” said Liz Darger, BYU senior associate director of athletics. “By those standards, he’s had an outstanding career. But he’s done more than coach track. Mark has influenced and developed thousands of student-athletes over four decades who are better people because of his loving leadership and mentorship. Mark’s joy is in seeing student athletes develop as disciples of Jesus Christ, not just as athletes and students. He’s had an exceptional career by every standard.”

With Mark Robison’s career coupled to that of his father, Clarence Robison’s 39 seasons encompassed leading the Cougars to a share of the 1970 outdoor national championship, 24 top-10 national finishes and six indoor conference titles. Clarence’s athletes compiled 27 individual national titles, 172 conference crowns, 32 Olympic appearances with five gold medals won by athletes representing six different countries.

“He’s the greatest track coach I’ve ever known,” Robison said of his father. “A lot of the things I do, I learned from him. For him, people mattered. He treated everybody with worth, and that’s what I’ve tried to do. He was revered because he represented something. He represented the teachings of Jesus Christ, BYU, the state of Utah and his family. I’m very fortunate to have had him as a mentor.”

One of nine children, Mark Robison graduated from Provo High School in 1975, where he earned All-State honors in track for two years as a distance runner. He began attending BYU in the fall of 1975 before serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Little Rock, Arkansas. His running career continued at BYU, where he competed in the 800 meters, 1500 meters and as a member of the cross country team. Robison married his high school sweetheart Jaye Lynn Monsen (1959-2020), daughter of former television “Voice of Cougar Sports” Jay Monsen, in 1978. Together, they have five sons, one daughter and 15 grandchildren.

“Mark Robison and BYU track and field are synonymous,” said Ed Eyestone, BYU director of track and field. “He has tirelessly continued the legacy that his father Clarence began before him. Mark is an excellent coach and developer of All-Americans, but more importantly, he has been an amazing mentor and role model to hundreds of young men and women. Mark’s ability to connect to his athletes and coaching staff through his open and generous heart will continue to positively impact lives for generations to come. We will miss you Robbie.”

Recent Stories

USTFCCCA recognizes 27 cougars as All-Academic Athletes
USTFCCCA recognizes 27 Cougars with All-Academic Honors

The USTFCCCA recognized 27 BYU men's track and field athletes with All-Academic honors on July 13. 

USATF Steeplechase Champion
Rooks captures USATF steeplechase title with remarkable comeback

BYU distance runner Kenneth Rooks delivered a comeback for the ages to claim the U.S. steeplechase title despite an…