Joseph Isabel Vigil
Personal information
Born (1929-11-25) November 25, 1929 (age 94)
Antonito Co, United States

Joe Vigil (born November 25, 1929) is an American track and field coach who specializes in long-distance running.

In 2015, he was the recipient of the Legend Coach Award from USA Track & Field.

Early life

Born in Antonito, Colorado, Vigil moved to Alamosa, Colorado, where he attended high school.[1]

After high school and a brief spell of two years in the United States Navy, Vigil attended Adams State College, as an undergraduate, then Colorado College for a master's degree before doing his doctorate at the University of New Mexico.[1]

Coaching career

Vigil started his coaching career at his old high school, Alamosa High School, before becoming coach at his old university, Adams State. There he taught from 1965 to 1993, taking the university to 19 national titles at track and field, and cross-country.[1]

In 1997, Vigil was head coach of the United States Pan-American Games Team.[1]

In 1998, Vigil was the long-distance running coach for the United States Olympics Team.

He was also coach for seven world cross country championships.[2]

Achievements and accolades

Vigil has a statue erected in his honour at Adams State University where he has also been granted the title of Professor Emeritus.[3]

In 1991, Vigil was elected to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.[1]

Vigil was elected to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics(NAIA) Hall of Fame.

In 2015, Vigil was awarded the accolade of USA Track & Field's Legend Coach award.[4][5]

This follows on from his achievement of being National Coach of the year fourteen times.[4] Among the many athletes he coached was Pat Porter (1959-2012), an American national track and field champion in the 10,000 meters (as well as in cross country), as well as a two-time Olympian on the U.S. track teams in 1984 and 1988.

Published in 2020, Chasing Excellence by Pat Melgares tells the story of Coach Vigil's life, coaching successes, and his Vigilosophy.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Dr. Joe Vigil Inducted 1991 TRACK & FIELD". Colorado Sports hall of fame. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  2. ^ Relya, Linda (April 9, 2019). "Joe I. Vigil will deliver the Adams State Spring Undergraduate Commencement address". Adams State University. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  3. ^ Fraioli, Marlo (November 16, 2010). "Joe Vigil Honored At Adams State". Podium Runner. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Meyer, John (May 30, 2015). "Joe Vigil to receive Legend Coach award from USA Track & Field". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  5. ^ "USATF honors Joe Vigil with annual Legend Coach Award". USA Track & Field. Retrieved June 15, 2019.