Jerry Quiller.
Jerry Quiller. (University of Colorado)

Former University of Colorado cross country and track and field coach Jerry Quiller passed away after fighting a battle against multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells. He was 69.

Quiller coached the Buffs for 15 years over two different stretches of his career. He was an assistant at CU starting in 1970 for four years. After stints as head coach at Wayne State (Mich.) and Colorado State, Quiller returned to Boulder to lead the Buffs from 1985-1995. He finished his coaching career at Army from 1995-2008.

During his time in Boulder, Quiller coached some CU legends, including 19 All-Americans, and earned a variety of titles and honors.

He led the Buffs to three Big Eight titles and was named conference Coach of the Year five times.

In 1994, the CU men finished second and the women finished fourth at the NCAA championships, earning Quiller national Coach of the Year accolades.

Olympians Adam Goucher and Alan Culpepper are among the great athletes Quiller coached at Colorado. He had a chance to lead them again when he was an assistant coach for the 2000 Olympic team, which competed in Sydney, Australia.

When Quiller left CU, he left the program in current coach Mark Wetmore's hands.

"I've been lucky to know many people considered to be successful ... athletic champions, Olympians, wealthy people, well known or influential people. But I'm not sure I ever knew anyone more successful than Jerry Quiller," Wetmore said of the coach affectionately known as Coach Q in a release from the university on Thursday.


Added CU's associate AD for sports information David Plati, "Our offices were side-by-side for over a decade, and I can't recall a single day where he wasn't always smiling. He was an 'up' person, even throughout his battle, a 'glass is half full kind of guy.' He left an indelible mark on those lives he touched."

Quiller, a Fort Collins native, lettered in cross country, track and field and baseball at Fort Collins High School. He and his wife, Sandy, had three sons, Ryan, Rory and Robb, who were all pole vaulters.

"He had a résumé of champions and All-Americans, but that is not why he was so loved," Wetmore explained. "Simply, he was a great guy. He had a big smile, a nickname for everyone, and an arm around their shoulders. He made people feel happy, welcome and at home. What greater measure of success could there be?"

Funeral arrangements are pending.