by Jason Cooper
The legacy of former University of La Verne discus coach Jim Sullenger will live on with the planned renovation of the discus ring on Arnett Field.
Sullenger was the discus coach at La Verne for six years. He did not come to ULV looking for a coaching job, but for a place to use discus facilities.
Sullenger was a master’s discus thrower, which allowed him to continue participating in the sport through his 70s. After using the facility for a while he talked to head track coach Pat Widolff and volunteered for the position of discus coach.
“He’ll be missed tremendously by me and the athletes,” said Widolff. “There’s no way we can replace him. It’s not just the coaching aspect. He was a friend to everyone.
“He was a personal friend of mine. He touched everyone he came across. He loved being around the track team.”
Head athletic trainer Paul Alvarez agreed Sullenger was an essential part of the program.
“Discus is tough to coach. Throwers are different athletes. He brought knowledge to the program,” he said. “He was always interested in the students. He was truly a mentor.”
Sullenger died this fall, leaving a wish for his family, friends, and athletes to fulfill. He wanted to see the desperately needed revampment of the discus ring.
The outer metal ring is corroding due to the weather and the placement of the ring itself is damaging a field goal post that is in the throwers field.
The family of Sullenger indicated it did not want floral gifts for his funeral, but money to fund a renovation of the ring.
Alvarez is working with Sullenger’s family and the ASF Forum to fulfill Sullenger’s wish.
Plans for that renovation include a reorientation of the ring so the throwing area will open up, replacement of the metal ring, an eight-pole arrangement instead of seven, replacement of the nets around the ring, and a plaque commemorating Sullenger.
The primary source of funds for this project has been family, friends, and athletes. ASF also donated $219 for the plaque.
The temporary date for completion has been set for the first home track meet. A small ceremony honoring the respected coach will take place at the meet.