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Coach Robert Olesen enters his seventh year at Charlotte, fourth as head coach, and has been the driving force behind the development of well balanced men's and women's track and field and cross country programs that are highly competitive at the conference level and advance student-athletes to the highest levels of competition in the nation. Coach Olesen strives to balance the programs' resources in order to field competitive student-athletes in all of the many events of track and field and cross country, providing as many young athletes as possible with a chance to participate and succeed.

Since joining the program, Olesen has helped the 49ers win their first indoor track and field league title, a conference title in men's cross country, produce their first male track and field All-Americans and women's indoor national qualifier, had three individuals claim Conference USA Athlete of the Year Awards, as well as a women's Academic All American. In addition, over the last three years the 49ers track and field program has also produced its first USA Junior National Team Member for track and field (2001 - Ian Dickinson), World Junior Cross Country national team member (2005 Nick Sunseri - Canada) and its first Olympian (Abe Morlu - Liberia, 2000), as well as several USA Track and Field junior All-Americans.

[quote]We're thrilled to be able to attract someone of Bob's qualifications to head our track and field program,[quote] Director of Athletics Judy Rose said when she tabbed Olesen to take over as head coach. [quote]The fact that he has been with our staff is certainly advantageous in that there is no learning curve, but more importantly, he has played a large role in the success that our program has enjoyed. Our program has taken some big steps and Bob deserves a lot of credit for that. Bob is a national caliber competitor himself and he brings a winning mindset to the program.[quote]

Charlotte has sent individuals from both the men's and women's teams to the NCAA Championships under Olesen. For Olesen, who was an All-American in the triple jump at Illinois, the early emergence of NCAA All-Americans Rephel Martin (triple jump) and Will Montgomery (long jump) began a trend of excellence in the jumping events that continues today. Martin earned All-America honors at the 2000 NCAA Outdoor Championships after being named Conference USA Athlete of the Year at the league's indoor championships. Montgomery, a NCAA All-America in the long jump in 2001, earned All-America notice for both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2002. After earning an invitation to compete for the United States at the NACAC Championships, he was ranked eighth nationally in the long jump by Track and Field News. Most recently, Sharonda Johnson represented the 49ers at the 2004 NCAA indoor championships, becoming the first woman in program history to compete at NCAA Indoors. She followed up that performance by not only qualifying but succeeding in earning All-American honors at the outdoor NCAA championship a few months later. The 49ers have had an all-conference jumper in every conference championship since Olesen's arrival. As a field event specialist, Olesen has had five All-American performances in the jumps in his six years at Charlotte.

Olesen is a 1990 graduate of the University of Illinois, earning a degree in kinesiology with a coaching endorsement. He garnered All-America honors in the triple jump in 1989 and was the Big Ten triple jump champion and the Fighting Illini's MVP in 1990. Olesen, who first joined the Illini as a walk-on, earned four letters and competed in both the triple jump and long jump.

Olesen got his coaching start as a graduate assistant at Southwest Texas State in 1990. He served as assistant coach there from 1992-95, and earned his master's degree in physical education from Southwest Texas State in 1995. While in Texas competing as a post-graduate, Olesen competed in the 1992 Olympic Trials in New Orleans. Olesen is a USA Track and Field level one certified coach as well as level two certified in both the jumping and throwing events.

In addition to his success on the track, Olesen was a member of the 1998 United States Olympic Bobsled team, helping the U.S. finish seventh in the two-man bobsled at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. En route to this accomplishment, his sled teams accumulated eleven world cup medals, including two bronze at the 1997 World Championship, an Olympic Trials championship and a number of U.S. Championships. His tenure with the team lasted from 1994-1998, during which he also earned the 1995-96 USOC Athlete of the Year Award and was a member of the 1996-97 USOC two-man bobsled team of the year.

Olesen and his wife, Cindy, who was a four-time Big Ten high jump champion, have two children, Elizabeth and Thomas.


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