By Jim Fenton
After working as an assistant for the Skyhawks and at Boston University since 2006, the Bridgewater native is the new head coach for Stonehill's men's and women's indoor and outdoor teams.
EASTON – His successful track & field career at the University of Connecticut ended in 2005, and it was time for the next chapter.
So Mike Delgado of Bridgewater moved to the West Coast, where he landed a job right out of college.
Then came a call from back in Massachusetts a year later that changed Delgado's path.
On the line was Stonehill College men's and women's track & field and cross country head coach Karen Boen offering Delgado a job on her staff.
"I was working a sales job in California and it was all right,″ said Delgado. "When Karen called, I figured, what the heck, I'd give it a go. That's kind of how it started.
"My college roommate had just taken a job at Harvard coaching track. I was like, 'I've got an offer, too. Maybe I'll take it up and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, I can always go back to doing sales.' ″
Delgado returned home in 2006 and was on the Stonehill staff for two years before getting another job offer to work as an assistant coach for the men's and women's teams at Boston University, where he stayed for 10 years.
Then last August, Delgado went back to Stonehill to again work as an assistant to Boen for cross country and indoor and outdoor track, which has led to another opportunity for the 2001 Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High graduate.
Delgado has been hired to be the Skyhawks' head coach for the men's and women's indoor and outdoor track teams with Boen stepping back to be the assistant coach in those four spots. She will remain the head cross country coach for the men and women.
After 13 years as an assistant coach, Delgado will be running his own programs in the 2019-20 season.
"I couldn't be happier for Mike Delgado,″ said Boen in a statement. "Mike has a deep knowledge of track & field and a true understanding of our athletic philosophy at Stonehill. He has been involved with track & field his entire life and I have no doubt that his expertise, commitment and personality will be a great asset to the athletic department.″
Delgado was a standout athlete at B-R, then continued his success at UConn over a four-year career.
An All-Big East performer four years in a row, Delgado was on the indoor New England championships in the 55-meter hurdles (7.58 seconds) and the heptathlon (setting a meet record with 4,960 points). He was also second in the 110 hurdles at the New England outdoor championships as a senior.
Delgado returned to the Division 1 level when he was hired at BU by coach Robyne Johnson following two years at Stonehill, and a decade with the Terriers enabled him to pick up valuable experience.
One of the athletes he coached, Allison Barwise, earned All-America honors and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
"It was real helpful,″ said Delgado. "I learned a lot there. When I first came to Stonehill, my only responsibilities were just to coach. That's the best part of the job. I didn't have to do any of the administrative stuff or recruit. I just showed up and made sure my kids ran fast.
Delgado's father, Ed, spent 50 years coaching track & field, including long stints at Brockton High School and Bridgewater State University, earning a spot in the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Hall of Fame.
Delgado's sister, Amy, had a successful track & field career at UMass Lowell and is a former head coach of the BSU women's team.
"I learned quite a bit from my father,″ said Delgado. "He coached me all through high school and I got a lot of training stuff from him, things that we used to do. I took a lot of stuff from his coaching, especially in the hurdles, things that I saw him do at Bridgewater State when I was over there with him when I was young.″
"I've taken quite a bit of stuff from all my coaches, Karen at Stonehill, my previous boss at BU, Robyne Johnson, and my coaches at UConn. You take bits and pieces from people you've met along the way or worked with. You see what works and what you hope you can bring to your program.″
Boen has developed the Skyhawks women and men into the upper echelon of Division 2 track & field programs in the East Region, and Delgado is looking forward to keeping the tradition going.
"I remember seeing them when Stonehill used to show up at Bridgewater State and my dad was running the meets,″ said Delgado. "I was there as a little kid. They were awful, the worst team around. They were losing to all the Division 3 teams.
"To see them go from being that bad to where they are now, they've come quite a way. From my point of view, I just want to continue to keep the program at that level.″
"I think the transition will be pretty smooth. Karen's still on staff, so some of the day-to-day stuff if I have questions about, she's been here 23 years, she knows that stuff. It's not like I have no resources. I can go to the office next door. It's good to be able to bounce ideas back and forth.″
For Mike Delgado, becoming a head coach is the next step in a career that began when he left that sales job and returned home from California.
"I figured I'd give it a go and see what comes of it until I figured out what I wanted to do,″ said Delgado. "It seems like this is it.″