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Leading the Charge

The track and field head coach is seizing the chance to bring about positive change and continue inspiring student-athletes

Kevin LaSure (2)

ART U Track and Field Head Coach Kevin LaSure. Photo courtesy of ART U Athletics.

At the top of 2018, Academy of Art University’s Track and Field Head Coach Kevin LaSure was named president of the NCAA Division II Track & Field Executive Committee by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

In this role, LaSure explained, he is the acting voice and sounding board for the fellow coaches and student-athletes for the various conferences within the division, including the California Collegiate Athletic Association and Mountain East Conference. 

“It’s a chance to lead the charge, where I’m the voice of the body and allowed to speak on behalf of us,” he said during a phone interview. “It’s about trying to figure out what changes are needed to help benefit our student-athletes and the sport as a whole.” 

LaSure was careful to mention that his new responsibilities won’t interfere with coaching the track and field team this upcoming 2018 spring season. Approaching his third year with ART U, LaSure looks to follow a successful 2017 campaign alongside Torrey Olson, director of track and field and cross country. 

Combined, the two teams set 19 new school records including junior Mobolade Ajomale being named USTFCCCA DII Indoor Track Athlete of the Year (he won three NCAA National Championships) and 13 total members named as All-Americans. 

“I’ve been blessed to work with some really talented athletes,” LaSure commented. 

LaSure’s storied career began at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. He first arrived on campus as a criminal justice student in 2000, playing wide receiver for the Chargers for three years before running track in 2001. He completed a master’s degree in labor and industrial relations in 2006 before taking up a coaching position at UNH.

Kevin LaSure headshot

ART U Track and Field Head Coach Kevin LaSure. Photo courtesy of ART U Athletics.

Throughout his UNH coaching tenure, several of his athletes reached prominence in the sport, including Shannon Gagine and David Thomas, who won accolades spanning Conference Champion, DII National Championships, Track Athlete of the Year and Academic All-American of the Year. 

Prior to being appointed president, LaSure held the vice president position to the outgoing president, Ryan Dall of Texas A&M-Kingsville, from 2015 to 2017. He was first nominated into the USTFCCCA as the Northeast-10 Conference representative in 2011, and has since served in various other roles and committees including Hall of Fame, Law & Legislation and Executive committees.

In LaSure’s eyes, however, he will always be a coach first. Part of mentoring successful athletes, he said, is getting to understand them on an athletic, academic and personal level. With more than a decade of coaching experience, LaSure knows that trust is a huge factor.

In LaSure’s eyes, however, he will always be a coach first. Part of mentoring successful athletes, he said, is getting to understand them on an athletic, academic and personal level. With more than a decade of coaching experience, LaSure knows that trust is a huge factor. 

“Most student-athletes don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care,” he revealed. “I’m lucky to have coached a lot of athletes that have bought in to what I’m teaching them and believe in what I’m teaching them and go out and try their best to execute it.”

In LaSure’s eyes, however, he will always be a coach first. Part of mentoring successful athletes, he said, is getting to understand them on an athletic, academic and personal level. With more than a decade of coaching experience, LaSure knows that trust is a huge factor. 

“Most student-athletes don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care,” he revealed. “I’m lucky to have coached a lot of athletes that have bought in to what I’m teaching them and believe in what I’m teaching them and go out and try their best to execute it.”

In LaSure’s eyes, however, he will always be a coach first. Part of mentoring successful athletes, he said, is getting to understand them on an athletic, academic and personal level. With more than a decade of coaching experience, LaSure knows that trust is a huge factor. 

“Most student-athletes don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care,” he revealed. “I’m lucky to have coached a lot of athletes that have bought in to what I’m teaching them and believe in what I’m teaching them and go out and try their best to execute it.”

“Most student-athletes don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care,” he revealed. “I’m lucky to have coached a lot of athletes that have bought in to what I’m teaching them and believe in what I’m teaching them and go out and try their best to execute it.”

According to LaSure, the ART U program has a unique appeal to student-athletes due to the nature of being associated with an art school. When it comes to pursuing passions, LaSure said, “Most of the time, you can’t do both.” 

“That’s one of the advantages that we have when it comes to art. We cater to the typical artist-athlete,” he mentioned. 

In that same vein, because of the Academy’s broad majors and disciplines, LaSure admires the way the school can “open the eyes of the student-athletes who hear the term ‘art school’ and only think of painting and drawing.” He references the vastness of the academic programs available—“multimedia, architecture, product design, things they didn’t realize that would be in an art school”—that attracts potential recruits. 

“We have an opportunity to enlighten them,” he said. “It definitely broadens our pool to student-athletes that previously may not have been on our radar because they might not have thought art school was an option for them.”  

No matter what role he plays—coach, recruiter, USTFCCCA president—LaSure’s philosophy remains the same, one he hopes to pass on to his artist-athletes: “You learn to adapt and you accept every situation and you make the best of every situation. You find out the best way to attack every obstacle and opportunity presented to you.”