COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced it has hired Parker Spencer as head coach of Project Podium, a men’s elite development squad based at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The program, which will begin operations this August, is designed to develop top young male triathletes in the United States to achieve medal performances in major international competition and, ultimately, the Olympic Games.
The program enables college-aged triathletes with significant competitive potential to train in a daily high-performance environment while earning an undergraduate degree at ASU through its esteemed online program or at one of four campuses throughout Arizona. Athletes may receive scholarship funds and stipends from USA Triathlon based on competitive performance.
The program is owned by USA Triathlon and housed at ASU. Spencer will lead all day-to-day coaching operations as a full-time staff member of USA Triathlon, while Cliff English, the head coach of the ASU varsity women’s triathlon team, will serve as program director.
“I’m very pleased that after a long search, we have found an excellent coach in Parker Spencer to lead Project Podium,” English said. “Parker has a strong science background and is a committed up-and-coming high performance coach. I look forward to working alongside him and USA Triathlon in my role as program director. Further, ASU is excited about this new project as the institution strives to excel in Olympic sports and become a national and international sports hub.”
Spencer is a USA Triathlon Level II Certified Coach and exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. He comes to USA Triathlon from his alma mater, Liberty University, where he has served as Director of Endurance Programs since 2014. In that role, he was head coach of the club swimming and diving, cycling, and triathlon teams while managing five assistant coaches and 74 athletes. The Liberty men’s triathlon team placed fifth at the 2018 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
In addition to his role at Liberty, Spencer held various positions with Endorphin Fitness from 2012-16 — including as Head Exercise Physiologist, Director of Coach Operations, Head Coach of Adult Programs and Junior Elite High Performance Draft Legal Coach.
"I am honored to accept the head coach position for Project Podium and join the accomplished staff at USA Triathlon,” Spencer said. “I look forward to working hard alongside Cliff English to make this program an overwhelming success, and I am confident we will do so. I am excited to build a team that will have the great opportunity of training in an elite daily training environment while also receiving a world-class education from ASU. This unique partnership will set up our athletes for success on the ITU circuit as well as in their higher education."
Spencer holds a Level III coaching certification from USA Cycling and a Level I certification from the American Swimming Coach Association. He has volunteered with USA Triathlon in various capacities, including as the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Triathlon Conference Director and as a coach for USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program athletes.
“The USA Triathlon high performance staff is proud to welcome Parker Spencer, a natural leader with valuable collegiate and development-level coaching experience, to spearhead this important program this summer,” said John Farra, USA Triathlon’s High Performance General Manager. “I am confident that Parker, Cliff English and Sun Devil Athletics will collaborate to create the ideal environment for the top men in our development pipeline.”
Project Podium athletes will have access to Sun Devil Athletics’ facilities, including the aquatic facility, weight room and outdoor track for regular training sessions. Sun Devil Athletics will provide the squad with sports medicine resources, strength and conditioning services, and nutrition counseling. The university will also provide academic support services.
The target demographic for program recruits is male athletes under 25 years of age who possess significant competitive potential, are skilled and experienced in the sport of triathlon, and are committed to the draft-legal Olympic-distance format of racing.
The squad will be composed of 12-16 athletes, at least half of whom will be under-25 male prospects. The remaining spots will be open to established elite triathletes who are also committed to the draft-legal Olympic-distance format. The older, more established athletes will be selected via an application process, and are expected to contribute to a culture of excellence and serve as role models for the younger squad members.
Triathlon was named an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January 2014, giving female athletes the opportunity to pursue the sport at the NCAA level with the support of their university’s athletic departments. The ASU women’s triathlon team is the top varsity squad in the nation, winning the overall title at the 2016 and 2017 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Project Podium, a first-of-its-kind program, enables young male triathletes with elite competitive potential to train alongside their peers in a daily collegiate high-performance environment.
For more information about USA Triathlon’s Project Podium, or to inquire about the recruitment process, contact Parker Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).