ORANGE, Calif. – Chapman University track & field and cross country head coach DeAndra'e Woods has announced he is leaving his position to rejoin the staff at Concordia University in Irvine, Calif. Woods has led the Panthers' programs since the fall of 2017.
Assistant coach Barron Maizland will take over as the Interim Head Coach for the spring 2021 season. Maizland is in his third year at Chapman after joining the program in 2018. In his two-plus year, Maizland has worked primarily with the cross country program and distance runners while also assisting with recruiting for both programs.
"We would like to thank Coach Woods for his fierce commitment to the betterment of our student-athletes and our department," commented Director of Athletics Terry Boesel. "His impact was shown in both cross country and track & field with incredible improvements both athletically, academically and beyond. We wish him luck as he moves forward in his career."
Woods added, "My three and a half years at Chapman University have been an amazing experience. Words can't describe how grateful I am to President Daniele Struppa, Director of Athletics Terry Boesel, Associate Athletic Director Doug Aiken and every individual that placed their trust in me to lead the Track & Field and Cross Country programs during my time on campus. I would like to thank Coach Boesel and the administration for this opportunity to grow as a coach, which has contributed to me being presented this new opportunity at Concordia University Irvine. I've poured my heart and soul into this university, athletic department and most importantly these student-athletes."
Over the last three and a half years, the Panthers have seen improvements in all four programs both athletically and academically. Woods has also increased fundraising efforts, increased roster sizes and took over the role of advisor to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Athletically, the Panthers saw a number of program firsts during Woods' tenure. Arabella Reece became the first female runner to qualify for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in 2018. Maija Girardi became the first All-SCIAC thrower at Chapman in 2019. In the same year, the Panthers put their first relay team on the podium at the SCIAC Championships when the 4x400m relay team ended the meet with a thrilling second-place finish.
Along with individual success came team success. The Panthers track & field teams both accumulated their highest point totals at the SCIAC Championships in school history last season. Both cross country teams also matched or exceeded their best finishes at the SCIAC Championships during Woods' tenure.
In the classroom, Woods leaves four of the top programs at Chapman in terms of GPA. The cross country swept the Team GPA awards to end the 2019-20 season while all four programs have been recognized as USTFCCCA All-Academic Teams.
Woods also shared, "I hope the student-athletes know that I LOVE THEM and will cherish the amazing times we've shared. Every day I tell myself, "Remember, today you are affecting somebodies' good old days!" I hope that I left a lasting impression on these student athletes that they can take with them throughout their time at Chapman University and in life. "Once A Panther Always A Panther!"
Woods came to Chapman from a brief coaching stint at Concordia and is returning to coach the Eagles' sprints, hurdles and relays in addition to assisting with recruiting and fundraising.
Chapman University and the SCIAC are still closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and have yet to announce schedules for any spring sports.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director