CSUEB Track and Field Athlete Lauren McGlory
Marcus McGlory (B.S.,’92) believes athletic success springs from a straightforward formula: “combine quality coaching with natural ability and you’re going to go big,” he says. He should know, because going big runs in his family. Marcus was an All-American triple jumper and long jumper for Cal State Hayward from 1978 to 82, and his daughter, Lauren McGlory, is striving for the women’s triple jump record at Cal State East Bay now.
As a jumper at El Cerrito High School nearly four decades ago, Marcus was single-minded about competing in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Track and Field Championships. He achieved that goal in his senior year, 1978, then set his sights on national competition with a college team. He had already been accepted at San Francisco State when he was approached by Don Chu, who had helped coach the Pioneers to a Division II national championship in 1977.
Chu remembers talking with Marcus over lunch before a visit to the Hayward campus. “I found him to be just the kind of kid that you would love to have in your program,” Chu recalls. “He was personable, articulate, and had a sense of maturity about himself. He was just absolutely solid, and I was determined to get him [on the team] in the worst way.”
Marcus, in turn, was wowed by the combination of team depth and quality coaching he saw. “When I walked on campus, there were all these All-Americans,” he remembers. Cal State’s head coach, Jim Santos, had a national reputation for building winning teams, and jump coach Chu was one of the nation’s foremost experts in plyometrics — jump exercises that helped improve power and speed quickly.
After changing his application and enrolling at Cal State, Marcus quickly made his mark. “He was extremely coachable,” Chu says. “But more than anything else, I was super impressed with his dedication. He never missed a workout.”
As a freshman, Marcus was ranked fourth in the nation in the triple jump. He earned the respect of his teammates and served as team captain for the next three years. In addition to being a top athlete — he earned All-American honors in 1979, 1980 and 1981 — he was also active in his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.
Marcus’s eligibility clock ran out in 1982 and a year later — just a few courses short of his degree — he left school for work in logistics and sourcing. He married and started a family, and later took his business skills to Kaiser Permanente, which offered tuition reimbursement for employees to continue their education. Through that program, Marcus was able to return to Hayward to complete his degree. A photo in the family album shows him in his graduation gown, proudly holding his year-old identical twin daughters, Lauren and Nicole. The year was 1992 — in a sad coincidence, the same year Cal State shuttered its men’s and women’s intercollegiate track and field programs.
Family was Marcus’s top priority as he progressed in his career. “If we had a family philosophy, it was definitely, ‘Hit the books,’” he says. “Get your studying and preparation done — and when you’re not doing that, you’ve got to be active in something.” For the McGlory girls, that something was soccer.
“We put something like 200,000 miles on a minivan in 10 years of going to soccer tournaments,” Marcus laughs. If those road trips took the family anywhere near his Cal State teammates — many of whom were now doctors, lawyers and college professors around the country — the minivan detoured for impromptu reunions. Cal State’s jumpers also organized their own get-togethers every few years. “Those guys were like uncles [to the girls],” he recalls. “There have been years when we spent the holidays with our track teammates more than our immediate family.”
Fast forward to 2006. Lauren and Nicole enrolled at James Logan High School in nearby Union City. In addition to soccer, the sisters joined the school’s powerhouse track and field team, competing in triple jump and long jump just as their father had. Coincidentally, CSUEB restarted its track and field program that same year.
The twins’ natural ability was molded by top coaches, including Don Chu and Arno Brewer, both of whom had worked with their father. Nicole qualified for the state meet as a freshman, (“She was better than me for a long time,” Lauren says), and in her senior year Lauren placed fifth in triple jump at the state meet. While Marcus encouraged his daughters and monitored their training, he generally deferred to their coaches. “To be honest, I didn’t like [my father] coaching me,” Lauren remembers. “I was like, ‘Arno is my coach.’ I was just being a teenager, but I was so against him coaching me in high school.”
Lauren and Nicole were recruited by Division I Sacramento State University out of high school and offered track scholarships. They chose the same major (nutrition and foods), took the same classes, shared their books, lived together and competed side by side. It was during this period that Lauren set Sac State’s school record for indoor triple jump (42’2”). As she matured, she also began to welcome her father’s advice and wisdom. “I started looking to my dad for answers,” she remembers. “I felt like he was the one that really helped me get to my big jumps, and really helped motivate me as well.”
The McGlory sisters left Sacramento State’s track and field program after two and a half years, though continuing to compete unattached. After graduating in 2013, the sisters’ paths diverged: Nicole went to work, but Lauren wanted to continue her education and use her last year of collegiate eligibility. (By NCAA rules, an athlete’s four years of eligibility must come within five years.) Marcus, upon hearing that the track and field program at Cal State East Bay was rebuilding, encouraged his daughter to move home and contacted CSUEB coach Ralph Jones. After an encouraging conversation, she enrolled as a graduate student in Fall 2013 (studying healthcare administration) and joined the track and field team.
Jones says Lauren is just the type of athlete who can help elevate the Pioneer program even further. “You can bring in talented athletes, but it’s important that they have the desire to be great,” Jones says. “That’s what Lauren brings to the table.”
Her work ethic demonstrates that desire: Daily four-hour workouts begin by 8 a.m., followed by studying in the afternoon and attending evening classes. Her dedication is paying off. On March15, Lauren ranked as the top women’s triple jumper in NCAA Division II with a 40' 7.75" effort. “She’s a far better competitor and performer than I was,” her proud father says.
The McGlory family will continue to go big in 2014. It is Lauren’s final collegiate season — the national meet will be held on Memorial Day weekend in Michigan, and she’s determined to jump there — and Marcus will be inducted into the Cal State East Bay Athletics Hall of Fame on May 18. Father and daughter also plan to participate in a legacy track meet on April 18–19 at Chabot College (where Ken Grace, one of Marcus’s Cal State teammates, is on the coaching staff). It’s an event that will raise both awareness and funds for Cal State East Bay’s growing program.
Alumni like Marcus McGlory play extremely important roles in building excitement, and generating resources for Pioneer Athletics, Coach Jones says. “Having these legends really allows our athletes to know their history, what they’re part of,” he explains. “There’s a great legacy that the current student-athletes need to be made aware of, so they understand what they’re representing.”
Lauren McGlory is already aware of that legacy — she grew up surrounded by it — and she’s determined to help bolster that legacy and reconstruct Cal State’s former glory on the track. “I knew that by coming [to Cal State East Bay] I was helping Coach Jones rebuild and get the program noticed,” Lauren says. “Now I’m invested.” Because, like her father, she’s determined to go big.