PULLMAN, Wash. — Ashland native Pete Julian has been hired as an assistant cross country and track and field coach at Washington State University.

PULLMAN, Wash. — Ashland native Pete Julian has been hired as an assistant cross country and track and field coach at Washington State University.

Julian, a successful collegiate coach and professional athlete, will join the staff of head coach Rick Sloan.

Julian will coach the men and women middle distance, distance and cross country runners, replacing Jason Drake, who accepted a position at the University of Washington.

"I feel very excited and fortunate that we have attracted someone of the quality of Pete Julian to come and direct our distance running and cross country program at Washington State," Sloan said in a release. "Pete brings a great deal of experience and success as a competitor and as a coach."

Julian leaves Metropolitan State College in Denver, where he served four seasons as the men's and women's cross country head coach and three seasons as the men's and women's track and field head coach.

This past year he directed the Metro State men's teams to high finishes in NCAA Division II championships: 10th in the indoor, 16th in the outdoor and 14th in cross country. The Roadrunners' women's cross country team placed 19th in the nation last fall.

Metro State produced the indoor and outdoor national champion in the 800 meters for 2009 in Anthony Luna, who ran a school-record time of 1:47.90.

"He has done great things at Metro State with very limited resources," said Sloan, "including not having a track, by finding local athletes in the Denver area and developing them into competitors. Pete has a thorough understanding of cutting edge technology in training for the distance and middle distance events. He worked on the Nike Oregon Project with Alberto Salazar.

"Pete was highly recommended by some of the most recognized distance authorities in the country. The people I spoke with about Pete's knowledge and understanding of distance running were all very complimentary, saying Pete 'got it' and understood what it takes in today's running world to be successful. I'm excited about the future of the Cougar distance and cross country program."

For the past three years, Julian has also been the director of Tempo Sports, the official distance center of USA Track & Field, in Boulder, Colo., managing and coordinating the elite distance training group.

In the summer of 2008, Julian was an assistant coach for the Nike Oregon Project, where he assisted world-class athletes leading up to the 2008 Olympic Trials.

In 2007, he served as the director of the USA Cross Country Championships and World Team Trials, also in Boulder.

"It is a tremendous honor to coach at Washington State University, where the track and field program has such a rich history," Julian said in a release. "Growing up in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, I was aware of runners like Gerry Lindgren as well as the great field and sprint athletes. Washington State has always been a powerhouse in track and field."

After leading Ashland to the Oregon high school state championship, Julian earned four All-America certificates at the University of Portland. Three came in track, and he was the first Pilot in history to earn one in cross country.

After graduating with a degree in communications management, Julian spent more than 10 years racing professionally in track and road races as a member of Team adidas.

He was a member of the United States World Cross Country team in 1997 and 1998, running personal-best times of 3:42 in the 1,500 meters, 13:33 in the 5,000 and 28:05 in the 10,000. Julian captured the bronze medal in the 10,000 at the 1999 Pan American Games, and was a finalist in the 10,000 at the IAAF World Championships in Seville, Spain, that same year.