Rodney Zuyderwyk is in his ninth season as assistant track and field coach at Purdue. Originally from Australia, Zuyderwyk was named 2008 and 2009 USTFCCCA Regional Assistant Coach of the Year and oversees the pole vault, men's hurdles and javelin. During the past seven years at Purdue, Zuyderwyk's athletes have broken 17 school records, nine Big Ten records, three American Collegiate records and three USA open National records. Additionally, they have won 50 Big Ten medals, including 19 Big Ten Championships. They have also won seven NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, two NCAA Championships and three USA open National Championships.
During his time at Purdue, Zuyderwyk has established one of the finest javelin programs in the country. Purdue is the only University to boast three women throwers over the 180-foot barrier with the new rules javelin and the only 2 American collegiate throwers to ever break the 60 meters barrier. His athletes have won two NCAA titles, five NCAA Mideast Regional titles, and in 2009 Kara Patterson won her second straight U.S. Championship and qualified for the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany with a career-best throw of 63.95 meters (209-10), just 24 centimeters shy of the American record. Patterson became Purdue's first female track and field Olympian in 2008, winning the U.S. Olympic Trials and breaking the Olympic trials record. Patterson eclipsed the "A" standard for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and set an American Collegiate record with her throw of 61.56 meters (202-00) at the 2008 Big Ten Championships. She's just the second American woman to eclipse the 200-foot barrier. Patterson has won a trio of conference championships, four NCAA Mideast Regional titles, a silver medal at the 2009 NCAA Championships and a silver medal at the 2005 Pan American Junior Championships.
In 2002, Zuyderwyk coached Serene Ross to her first Big Ten Championship. She quickly improved to win the NCAA Championship and break the American record. Two weeks later, Ross improved her American record to 197-00 and became the USA open National Champion, gaining selection to the U.S. team and becoming the first woman to throw over 60 meters in the U.S. She competed at the World Cup of Track and Field, finishing fifth.
In 2007, Zuyderwyk guided Lindsey Blaine to the Big Ten Championship, a NCAA Mideast Regional Championship and a win at the NCAA Championship. Blaine ended her season with a personal best of 182-09 during her first place finish at the NCAA Championships. Blaine was also a finalist at the 2008 Olympic Trails.
The pole vault program has been very successful under Zuyderwyk. In the past seven years, the Boilermaker vaulters have earned 22 Big Ten medals, including eight conference championships.
Current Boilermakers Brianna Neumann and Eric Sparks have been exceptional as well, leading a group of six NCAA Mideast Regional qualifiers in 2009 and seven regional competitors in 2008. Neumann broke the outdoor school record in 2008 with a clearance of 4.16 meters (13-07.75) to take second place at the 2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Championship and qualify for her first career national championship. Sparks had a solid 2009 season, winning his first career NCAA Mideast Regional Championship with a season-best mark of 5.36 meters (17-07.00), qualifying for his third straight national meet, and snagging his second straight Big Ten Outdoor Championship to lead a 1-2 finish for the Boilermakers. He also took second at the 2008 regional meet, clearing a career-best 5.41 meters (17-09.00).
Other current standouts for the Zuyderwyk include rising juniors Tara Turnbull and Chris Thoman, and rising sophomore Elizabeth Stover. Turnbull matched the fourth-highest mark in Purdue's women's outdoor history in 2008, clearing a career-best of 4.00 meters (13-01.50) in her rookie season, and tied the fifth-best indoor mark at Purdue as a sophomore with a mark of 3.97 meters (13-00.25). Thoman cleared an indoor career-best 5.10 meters (16-08.75) in 2009, and went on to close out a stellar 22-team point showing at the 2009 Big Ten Outdoor Championship, and qualified for the regional meet with a career-best mark of 5.20 meters (17-00.75). Stover cleared 3.85 meters (12-07.50) in her rookie campaign to qualify for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship.
Mallory Peck had a series of outstanding performances under his tutelage, winning a pair of NCAA All-America awards, qualifying for four national championship meets, winning a pair of Big Ten Championships, and setting two conference championship meet records. Her national honors came at the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships, while she advanced to the national outdoor meet twice, qualifying for the finals in 2008. Her top indoor mark of 4.20 meters (13-09.25) is second all-time at Purdue, while her best outdoor clearance of 4.15 meters (13-07.25) set the Big Ten Outdoor Championship record, won the 2008 Big Ten Championship and is tied for second in the Boilermakers' outdoor history. Fellow 2009 graduate Ben Pax posted several outstanding performances over the last four years as well, placing in seven Big Ten Championship meets, including a pair of medals as a senior. Pax cleared a career-best 5.27 meters (17-03.50) during the indoor season and won bronze at the conference meet, and went on to earn Second-Team All-Big Ten honors and a silver medal at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a season-best mark of 5.23 meters (17-01.75).
In 2002, Zuyderwyk coached Ebbie Metzinger to an Indoor and Outdoor Big Ten Championship. Metzinger set Big Ten records in both championships and set the school record at 13-11.25. She continued her post-collegiate career qualifying for the Olympic trials. In 2004, Simona Kovicic won the Big Ten Championship and competed at the NCAA meet as Zuyderwyk had five women qualify for NCAA Regional Championships followed by four more in 2006. Also in 2004, Hence "Pooh" Williams won the Indoor Big Ten Championship and joined the Boilers' all-time list with a jump of 17-10.00. Williams was a finalist at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. A 2007 graduate, John Porter also earned Big Ten success, winning several silver and bronze medals and having a personal best of 17-01.00 in his Purdue tenure.
The Purdue men's hurdles program has also enjoyed much success in recent years. Rising junior Josh Hembrough has starred under Zuyderwyk for the last two seasons, qualifying for four straight NCAA Championship meets, including a 2009 NCAA Indoor Championship All-America performance. Hembrough took eighth place at the national indoor meet, and took over third place in school history in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.77. He's won a trio of Big Ten Championships and first-team all-conference awards, capturing the 2008 Big Ten Indoor 60-meter hurdles crown en route to Big Ten Indoor Freshman of the Year honors, and back-to-back Big Ten Outdoor Championship 110-meter hurdles titles. His career-best 110 mark of 13.58 ranks second all-time at Purdue.
Zuyderwyk coached All-American Rickey Pinkney to three consecutive Indoor Big Ten Championships. In 2006, Pinkney placed seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships, garnering All-America honors. Pinkney was a four-time NCAA qualifier and a USA Championship qualifier in 2006 with a best of 13.78 in the 110-meter hurdles. 2007 was a breakout year for Keith Hopkins. Hopkins posted a career-best time of 7.79, and went on to win the bronze medal at the Outdoor Big Ten Championships and run a career-best time and Rankin Track Record of 13.59 in the 110-meter hurdles. Hopkins is a three-time NCAA qualifier and was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week on three occasions during the 2007 outdoor season.
Brian Kaluf completed a solid four-year career in 2008, clocking career-best times of 7.94 in the 60-meter hurdles, 13.98 in the 110-meter hurdles and 52.09 in the 400-meter hurdles. He was a two-time NCAA Mideast Regional Championship qualifier in both the 110- and 400-meter hurdles, and took home the bronze medal at both the 2007 and 2008 Big Ten Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles.
Zuyderwyk has built a successful career in both coaching and competing. Before coming to Purdue, Zuyderwyk represented Australia in the 110-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, where his team claimed the bronze medal. He finished sixth at the World Cup in the 110-meter hurdles and sixth at the World Student Games in decathlon.
In college, Zuyderwyk competed for Washington State University, helping the Cougars to a Pac-10 Championship, two National Dual Meet Championships and a runner-up finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Zuyderwyk earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and sports administration from Washington State in 1993. He received a postgraduate diploma in sports psychology from the University of Queensland in 1995, and earned an MBA from the University of Southern Queensland in 2000.
Zuyderwyk lives in Lafayette with wife, Jill, and their two sons, Brock and Tristan.