BYU track and field associate head coach Mark Robison has eyes fixed on Big 12

As BYU track and field competes in its last year of independence, associate head coach Mark Robison is anxious to get the program up and running toward success next year upon joining the Big 12.

“The thing that was the most fun for track and field was the conference meet,” Robison reflected. “That’s what brings your team together.. we were very, very good in the Mountain West Conference. Before that it was the WAC.

BYU’s track and field teams have been without a conference since 2011, when athletic director Tom Holmoe announced that the university would part ways with the Mountain West Conference. While most of BYU’s other programs joined the West Coast Conference, track and field was left homeless.

(Graphic by Alexander Amrine)

“For us to go to a conference, that is going to be probably be the best thing that could ever happen to our program for the past 12 to 13 years,” Robison declared.

Robison, with 35 years at BYU under his belt and having been part of 21 indoor conference championships and 20 outdoor championships, is no stranger to success. He yearns for motivation to push himself as a coach and to push his athletes.

“Without having the conference meet, the only barometer for knowing how good of a team we have is how (we) do at nationals,” Robison joked. “At nationals, it’s a pretty tough situation, because it’s one of the bigger meets in the whole world, with lots of international athletes.”

With Big 12 on the horizon, the program is excited for a way to better gauge the strength of its team and the individual athletes. BYU, however, is no stranger to the Big 12 programs.

Since BYU is not a part of a conference, it participates in a variety of meets across the country, occasionally even splitting up its distance team from the rest of the pack to send to separate competitions. Some of these competitions have led the team to compete against their future Big 12 neighbors.

Robison said he believes that conference meets in the Big 12 will be more important than the national meets. He explained that program rivalries will factor heavily into this.

“The Big 12 will be, probably, the number two or three best conference for track and field in the country,” Robison said. “To go from no conference and just trying to find your way, to go to one of the best conferences, is going to be an amazing change.”

BYU has proved that it doesn’t necessarily need a conference to find success, producing numerous All-Americans every year along with national champions and even Olympians. However, that doesn’t mean the team isn’t looking forward to the new chapter in BYU track and field history.

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