A longtime coaching great, Mike Tomasello now has over 28 years of experience, including tenures at Stanford and Tennessee.
Tomasello arrived at the University of Tennessee in 1963. As a student-athlete, he was a member of 12 SEC title teams in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. He earned All-SEC honors running on the championship indoor two-mile relay team in 1965 and 1966 and running individually in the outdoor 880 yard run in 1966 where he finished in third place in 1:53.4, only a second behind the winner as a covey of orange swept the event.
Following college, Tomasello took a job as the Assistant Track Coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, where he coached the Virginia State Champion and Golden West runner up in the 880 Craig Talley to a time of 1:51.80.
"Coach Rohe asked me to come back to Tennessee in 1971 and be his graduate assistant coach, which I did, but Coach soon left and went to Virginia Tech. He was replaced at Tennessee by Coach Stan Huntsman who taught me how to coach distance runners and learn the administration of coaching. He will always be in my memory and heart."
While coaching at Tennessee, Tomasello assisted in producing 15 All Americans, including 2 time NCAA 880 Champion Willie Thomas. With Tomaselloâ€™s help, the Volunteers claimed the 1972 NCAA title in cross country and the 1974 NCAA championship in track and field, as well as six Southeastern Conference titles.
In 1979 Tomasello returned to T.C. Williams High School as Head Cross Country and Track Coach. As the head coach he collected Northern Virginia Coach of the Year honors three times and won 15 regional championships. His distance medley relay team set the national high school record in 1976.
Mike Tomasello next went to Stanford University in California in 1980 as the Assistant Track Coach and Head Men's Cross Country Coach. During his time with Stanford, Tomasello assisted Olympic Coach Brooks Johnson in the development of both the men's and women's cross country and track programs. He was also a member of the National Distance Olympic Development committee while at Stanford.
"I retired from coaching in 1984 after the Stanford stint and went into University Advancement work as a fund raiser for universities in California for over 20 years. Most recently, I met some old friends who asked if I'd help out coaching the women distance team at San Francisco State University. I thought about it for a while and then accepted the challenge of coaching once again. To say the least it's been a blessing teaching and coaching these very talented women distance runners. Overall, San Francisco State finished in the top 15 this year (2017) at the Division 2 NCAA meet and the future looks even brighter"
"My career in coaching has been blessed in many ways working with legendary coaches, but none more blessed than to have it all started by being coached by Chuck Rohe. He truly taught me more than just about Track and Field. He taught us how to get the job done and not fear hard work facing Pain with Distain. Thanks Coach!!"
"I'm presently still coaching at San Francisco State. Iâ€™m coaching the women's team as their distance coach. We finished 15th in the 2017 NCAA D2 championship. Having a great time sharing and coaching these splendid athletes."
The coaching tree wonâ€™t end when Mike Tomasello retires. Bob Barber, a close friend and Tennessee teammate explains: "Mike, teammate Bob Redington, and I were at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Oregon and sat with track coaches from T.C. Williams High School. These were guys that Mike coached when he was head coach at T.C. Williams in the early 70's. Well it turned out that one of their sprinters, Noah Lyles, who had just graduated, was running in the Olympic Trials. Lyles made them all proud when he ran the 200-meter finals in 20.09 for fourth place, breaking a 31-year-old national high school record and running one of the best American and world junior performances ever."