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PLNU’s Cross-Country Head Coach Landon Bright Resigns 

Coach Landon Bright. Photo Courtesy of PLNU Athletics.

By: Mackenzie Lackey

After three years of coaching at Point Loma Nazarene University, head cross-country coach Landon Bright has resigned. He notified the team of his decision during the first week of the spring semester.

After two successful seasons as head coach, Bright said his decision to resign wasn’t an easy one. 

“It was a personal family decision, nothing job-related,” said Bright. “It was for family reasons and just transitioning to a different lifestyle. I really enjoyed my time here, and it is going to bring a lot with me.” 

Bright is an alumnus of PLNU’s men’s cross-country and track and field teams (which were cut from PLNU Athletics in 2013 and 2012). He ran for the Sea Lions from 2005-2009. He was an NAIA All-American in cross-country in 2008 as well as an NAIA All-American in the 10k for track and field in 2009. He is on four of PLNU’s all-time top 10 lists.

Returning to his alma mater, Bright served as the assistant cross-country coach and assistant track and field coach in 2021. In 2022, he was promoted to head cross-country coach. 

Bright led the Sea Lions to a fifth-place finish at the PacWest Championships in 2022, followed by a fourth-place finish in 2023. In the NCAA West Regionals, the Sea Lions placed 18th in 2022 and 11th in 2023. 

Bright coached fourth-year runner Aubrie Nex as she earned Third Team All-PacWest Honors in 2022 and Second Team All-PacWest Honors in 2023. Alongside Nex, second-year runner Maddie Reeves received Third Team All Pac-West Honors in 2023. 

Even with all of these accomplishments, Bright recalled many other achievements during his time as head coach. 

“We had a lot of good performances and breakthrough performances last year in cross-country and track,” said Bright. “If they’ve [the athletes] been with me more than one year, they’ve seen some improvement I think regardless of the talent and ability. I’ve enjoyed seeing the whole group and all the individuals progress and improve.”

Some of Bright’s favorite memories are traveling with the team. 

“The fun part about college coaching is you get to travel and experience different places with the team, which has been a lot of fun,” said Bright. “Just being around the team and going to different meets has been enjoyable and leaving with lots of positive and fun memories.” 

Another highlight Bright mentioned was getting to coach alongside Jerry Arvin, track and field head coach since 1995 and cross-country head coach before Bright stepped into the position. 

“Being able to coach with Coach Arvin for a few years was really great,” said Bright. “He was my coach in college and I’ve known him since 2005, so it kind of came full circle there and will be something I will remember.” 

Even though Bright will not be returning, he still has high hopes for the future of the program. 

“Ethan Hamilton, the athletic director, will work on transitioning to a new coach,” said Bright. “In the meantime, Coach Arvin will continue with the distance runners and Madi Bucci [cross-country assistant coach] will help as well. It should be a fairly seamless transition.” 

Of the lessons that Bright has taught to his athletes, he hopes they remember this one: 

“I want them to continue on and trust themselves. In our sport in particular, you have to trust yourself and trust your training. I want them to be open to coaching and ultimately it comes down to little decisions they will make themselves.”

Coach Bright’s PLNU career concludes at the end of January 2024. 

“I want to thank Coach Arvin, Madi Bucci, Ethan Hamilton and all of the administration at Point Loma,” said Bright. “It’s been a real honor to work with the program and work with the team, as well as being able to see the other teams be successful not only as a coach but as an alum also.”