Roberto Vives enters his 28th season as the director of UAlbany's track & field and cross country programs in 2012-13. In that period, Vives has coached 141 All-America athletes and 14 individual NCAA champions.Ten of his athletes have been inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame, the most recent being Samantha Cohen and Howard Sellers in 2011.
Under Vives' watch in 2011-12, the Great Danes became the first men's team since 1998 (New
Hampshire) to sweep the cross country, indoor, and outdoor track and field
America East titles.UAlbany took their seventh straight America East men's indoor track and field
championship, now winning nine of the last ten years. In addition, the women earned their fourth straight outdoor America East title, bringing the men's and women's indoor and outdoor programs' total to 26 AEast team championships since 2002. Vives also headed the Men's
Indoor and the Women's Outdoor Coaching Staffs of the Year, representing the 15th
and 16th America East staff honors under his direction.
In 2010-11, the men's indoor team notched their sixth straight America East Conference Championship, while the women won their second straight conference championship. The women posted 206.5 points, nearly breaking a conference record set by Boston U. in 2007 with 206.83 points. During the outdoor season, the men's team won their seventh conference consecutive title while setting both a meet and school record in the triple jump. Senior Nasim Siddeeq leaped 52-feet, 1.25 inches to break a conference record set in 1991. The women took their third straight conference championship with 174 points.
In 2009-10, UAlbany became the first school to win all four America East Conference track & field championships in the same academic year. The men's team also became the first program to win its second straight IC4A indoor crown since Georgetown accomplished the feat in 2000, while the women earned their highest finish in program history at the ECAC indoor meet by tying for 12th in the team standings. In addition, the men set America East records by winning their sixth straight outdoor championship and fifth consecutive indoor title. For their efforts, Vives and his group of assistants were chosen as the America East Conference men's and women's indoor and men's outdoor coaching staffs of the year. Vives was also named the Division I Indoor Track Northeast Region Men's Head Coach of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Short sprinter Fey Adaramola was named the America East Conference Track Athlete of the Year, while long sprinter Jonathan Santana took home the league's top rookie honor at the indoor conference championship.
In addition to winning the most championships, Vives' athletes received more academic awards than any other school in the America East Conference. Valete Graham was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Men's Track & Field and Cross Country third team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He was also honored as the America East Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, both indoors and outdoors, while Adaramola earned the same recognition during the indoor season. UAlbany had four men and three women named to America East Conference Indoor Track & Field All-Academic Team, two men and two women honored on the league's outdoor all-academic team and four members make the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. The women's squad was also honored as a USTFCCCA All-Academic Team after posting a 3.12 team grade point average, its highest in program history.
Vives orchestrated a dream season for the UAlbany men's and women's track and field programs in which they combined to win five championships during the 2008-09 campaign. In addition to winning the America East Conference indoor and outdoor team titles, the men's program became the first school to sweep the IC4A team championships since Rutgers in 2005. UAlbany had three student-athletes garner All-America honors outdoors and sent four to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, both program bests. The squad's tenth-place finish at the NCAA East Regional Championship and 40th-place standing at the national meet were its highest ever. Luke Schoen was also named the first indoor All-American in a field event, while Nasim Siddeeq was honored as the USTFCCCA and America East Conference Field Athlete of the Year in the winter.
The women's program won its third America East outdoor championship in four years despite being picked to finish third in the preseason coaches poll. In addition, the squad finished fifth at the ECAC outdoor championship with 39 points, both program bests, behind two Atlantic Coast and two Big East conference schools. UAlbany had never finished higher than 23rd at the meet. Jenn Gurrant swept the ECAC triple jump titles, and Kamilah McShine was named the America East Conference Field Athlete of the Year and recipient of the Coaches' Award indoors for accumulating the most points at the conference championship.
In addition, UAlbany had four men and three women named to America East Conference Indoor Track & Field All-Academic Team, three men and three women honored on the league's outdoor all-academic team and five members make the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. All of these marks ranked first among the nine America East institutions.
All in all, Vives has led UAlbany to 46 conference championships, three IC4A championships and four New York State titles. In addition, he has guided the men's team to 14 America East Conference championships and the women's squad to five titles. For his efforts, Vives has been the recipient of 12 America East Coaching Staff of the Year awards. He was also named the USTFCCCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2010 and received the IC4A Service Award in 2008 for 25 years of coaching. In 1994, he garnered UAlbany's Chancellor Award and President's Award for excellence in professional service.
Vives was an administrator and coach at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1993, 1994 and 1995. He also served as CTC President, the USAT&F East Men's Development Chair and was also a member of the Division I Executive Committee for the USTFCCCA from 2003-06.
Under his tutelage, five UAlbany track and field athletes have gone on to earn a total of 10 All-America certificates at the NCAA Track & Field Division I Championships. After Gered Burns became the program's first Division I All-American in the 800-meter run at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship, Joe Greene (400-meter hurdles) and Marc Pallozzi (javelin throw) became the first two Great Dane track and field athletes to accomplish the same feat outdoors at the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Schoen became UAlbany's fourth All-American and garnered the program's sixth All-America certificate when he placed fifth in the pole vault at the NCAAs in 2008. The pole vaulter earned All-America honors both indoors and outdoors in 2009, while Greene and Ricardo Estremera (3,000-meter steeplechase) each garnered the laurel at the outdoor meet.
Vives has also coached eight Junior National All-Americans, including Greene in the 400 hurdles, Tyler Fogarty in the 800-meter run, Ryan Gaedje in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Sean Halpin in the 1,500, Alyssa Lotmore at 1,500 meters, John Moore in the 800, Jenna Ortman in the 1,500 and Jessica Ortman at 800 meters. Halpin most recently placed sixth in the 1,500 at the 2010 USA Junior National Championship by hitting the tape in 3:53.00. Fogarty placed fourth in the 800 with a time of 1:48.83 at the 2008 meet. One year earlier, Moore placed second in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:50.50. Moore went on to win a bronze medal in the event (1:49.17) at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships. In 2006, Greene finished second in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in a time of 50.70 seconds. Greene's performance qualified him to compete at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing, China. Following the 2009 spring season, Greene started competing professionally, including the European circuit.
Vives began his coaching career at the age of 14 when he founded the Bronx International Athletic Club (BIAC). The BIAC grew to include 200 members and helped produce six Olympians. He was an assistant coach during his senior year at Cardinal Hayes High School, where he worked with Ron McCray, the Catholic High School city champion in the 300-yard dash indoors and the long jump outdoors.
Vives returned to Cardinal Hayes in 1979 as head track and field coach. He spent three years at his alma mater prior to his appointment as boys' track and field coach at Bronx High School of Science, a position he held until moving to UAlbany in the fall of 1985. Vives also coached one season at Lehman College.
The native of Bronx, N.Y. attended Seton Hall University, where he was a Dean's List student and a member of the track and field team. He earned a bachelor's degree in health, physical education and recreation in 1978 and later received a master's degree in health education from City College of New York in 1980, where he also served as an assistant men's track & field coach.
As an athlete, Vives competed in the high hurdles, high jump, relays and the decathlon. He was the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Metropolitan high hurdle champion in 1978. Vives, who is a certified Taekwondo Karate Instructor and holds a second-degree black belt, was also the 110-meter hurdles masters champion at the 1991 and 1999 Empire State Games.
He currently resides in Selkirk with his wife, Valrene. They have two children, Andres (28) and Ashley (26).