* Sean Brosnan in 2019 after Newbury Park claimed its Team Nationals title
Photo Credit: Cory Mull/MileSplit
By Garrett Zatlin - Milesplit Recruiting Correspondent
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Coming into this week, it would have been hard to surprise anyone about a major coaching change in the NCAA.
After seeing Oregon, Tennessee and Illinois garner national headlines with their coaching changes, it felt like we had grown numb to the high-impact moves that we were seeing within NCAA leadership.
But on Monday, UCLA managed to stun us once more.
That's because Sean Brosnan, the head coach of distance powerhouse Newbury Park High School, was hired as UCLA's assistant coach of cross country and track and field.
Brosnan later clarified that his role, while assistant in titling, will largely be one leading the distance programs. Now, the move is big for a number of reasons.
But first, let's start first with the reasons behind why UCLA took a leap with Brosnan. For starters, he's been the most successful high school coach in the United States over the last three seasons.
Trying to list all of Newbury Park's accomplishments would be a nearly impossible task. However, 2019 was a flash-point year for Brosnan and his team.
They won a national cross country team championship. After a pandemic-fueled 2020 -- which shortened the season and limited national opportunities -- they claimed it again in 2021.
Brosnan has had arguably the best team in the country for three straight seasons. The Newbury Park girls, meanwhile, have been a very-good, too -- the Panthers were second to Buchanan a year ago at state.
Has he produced stars? Most notably, Brosnan was responsible for producing current Northern Arizona superstar Nico Young and incoming Lumberjack Colin Sahlman. Both Newbury Park graduates are considered among the best high school distance runners ever. Both won national titles -- and awards -- as seniors.
Unbelievably, Class of 2023 megastars Lex Young, Leo Young and Aaron Sahlman all have a chance of joining that same conversation during their senior year -- if they haven't already started dipping their toes in the water.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
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They also happen to be among the three most valuable track and field recruits in the country.
Prior to this week, initial speculation was that Northern Arizona would be a major player in landing one, two or potentially three.
However, with Brosnan now at UCLA -- which is roughly a one hour drive from Newbury Park High School -- is it ridiculous to think that one, two or even all three of these superstar recruits could become Bruins?
Admittedly, the idea that all three of Newbury Park's current runners would join UCLA seems like a bit of a stretch -- but maybe not. New coaches tend to work from areas or regions they know well. The same goes with relationships and ties to athletes.
Could one of those three end up at UCLA? It seems feasible.
There's another layer that we have to consider when it comes to Brosnan's hiring, too: His recruitment strategy.
Right now, Brosnan is easily one of the most recognizable coaching names in the country regardless of the competition level. He's a fast talker who's produced some memorable quotes -- "4:20 isn't fast for a high school boy."
His reputation alone could certainly catch the attention of elite distance talents throughout the entire country. Brosnan is a New York native. He may still have ties in the area.
If Brosnan is able to deliver a commitment from one of Newbury Park's Big Three, then other top recruits could follow suit.
What's more, the Bruins are soon going to be venturing toward the Big Ten Conference (B1G), reportedly by 2024 (or sooner).
In a conference known for its cross country depth, it will be absolutely crucial that UCLA makes a strong first impression, especially if the men's or women's programs want to be viewed favorably by recruits in the midwest.
A potential gobble of star recruits this year and next year could put UCLA distance running in a position where they are competitive in the B1G a few years from now.
However, maybe the best part about all of this is that we likely won't have to wait long for the recruiting headlines to start flying.
Many of the nation's best distance recruits often make their commitments between August and December.
In theory, superstar talents should be making their college decisions any day now. By the time the New Year rolls around, UCLA's future could look very, very different.
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