Diego Vela enters his fourth season as Jacksonville University women's track and field assistant coach.
The 2016 season saw the Dolphins reach unprecedented heights and sweep the indoor and outdoor ASUN Conference titles for the 11th-straight year. Up to that point the Dolphins had won every indoor title since the conference added the sport in 2006, while JU’s outdoor team holds the record for the most consecutive titles in ASUN history.
In 2016, the duo of Kree Clark (weight throw, discus throw, hammer throw) and Stormm Phillips (triple jump) set four ASUN Championship records. In total, the Dolphins earned 17 ASUN titles and 47 All-ASUN accolades between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
At the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the 4x100 meter squad of Shanique Walker, Courtney Walker, Shadaey Campbell, and Ja'Mesha Richard ran a 44.70, placing 13th overall. Walker also competed in the 100 meter hurdles, placing seventh in a time of 12.96 seconds. The Dolphins earned five Second Team All-America honors.
Prior to his time at JU, Vela was a volunteered at Creekside High School, the University of North Florida, and Jacksonville Track and Field Club.
Prior to his time in Jacksonville, Vela worked for five years in Guatemala as a track coach with the national federation team.
Vela is a graduate of International School Of Physical Education and Sports (Cuba) with a Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports. Vela spent five years on the island in an effort to enhance his coaching knowledge. During those five invaluable years, Vela was blessed to witness the training of several World and Olympic champions at Pan American Stadium, spending time with coaches and the Cuban senior and junior teams which had their fair share of world-class athletes.
Vela credits his ongoing development as a coach to a continuous string of amazing and generous American and foreigners mentors, who gracefully share their hard-won wisdom with patient teaching.
Vela was born in Tacna, Peru, a small southern Peruvian town, down near the Chilean border, where he was a 400 meters runner and on the 4x400 team in Marcelino Champagnat High School, where he attended from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Vela is proudly married to Mariaisys Gomez, a Cuban doctor and Nurse Practitioner student. Vela wishes to thank Mariaisys and his family for the devoted love and support that make it possible to be a track coach and a family man. He is also very grateful to Head Coach Ron Grigg and Jacksonville University, for the opportunity to work in such a great place, "JU didn't give me just a job. JU gave me my life back”.
Vela is a Jumps Specialist and Strength and Conditioning Coach through USTFCCCA, and Level I Certified Coach through USA Track & Field and USTFCCCA.