Jim McCarron begins his 13th season as Riverside Community College men's head track and cross country coach, and during that time he has re-established the programs as one of the premier programs at the national and state level. Under coach McCarron, the RCC track and field and cross country programs have become known for their ability to transfer student-athletes onto to universities at high rates. He is known for his focus on both the academic and athletic success of his student-athletes, his high rates of transferring student-athletes to universities, and building winning teams with depth and quality in all event areas.
McCarron is the winningest coach in RCC’s 103-year history with seven state titles. Riverside enters the 2019 season having won seven state championships in the last ten seasons. In the fall of 2016 the Tigers added the seventh state championship by winning the CCCAA state cross country title, RCC’s first in twenty-two years. In track and field, McCarron’s teams have won six of the last 10 state championships as well as 12 consecutive Orange Empire Conference Championships. In 2010, the men's track program became the third program in the college's history to win three consecutive titles - joining the likes of men's basketball (Jerry Tarkanian) and baseball (Dennis Rogers). In 2014, he added a second three-peat state championship when his track and field team won the 2014 state title.
McCarron’s teams have compiled numbers that have never been seen at the community college level. In 2012 his team scored a record 200.3 points at the Southern California Championships and in 2013 they bettered that record by scoring 225 at that meet. The 2013 squad surpassed Taft’s 1985 team as being the most dominate community college track and field team in history by scoring a record 151 points at the state championship. In 2013, the Tigers scored the second-highest points in CCCAA State Championship history. Teams coached by McCarron have featured overall depth never seen at the community college level. The 2013 squad demonstrated that best with the Tigers scoring in 17 of 21 events at the state meet. The 2013 team was named the Press Enterprise Team of the Year following its successes.
Coach McCarron has had only three track teams finish worse than third at the state finals (2006, his first team, which finished 28th, 2011, which finished fourth and 2015 finished fifth). For his efforts, McCarron is highly decorated. In 2011, he was selected as the Orange Empire Conference Male Coach of the Year. He also was selected the 2010 California Community College Track and Field Coach of the Year and 2017 CCCAA Cross Country Coach of the Year. He has won the conference coach of the year award for track and field 12 times and seven times in cross country.
During coach McCarron’s tenure at RCC, over 250 track and field and cross country student-athletes have received scholarships to universities. The 2013 team had a record 12 Academic All-Americans. He has had five student-athletes receive the RCC student of distinction. McCarron has coached 41 state champions, 157 all-Americans and 225 all-state student-athletes in both track and field and cross country.
In 2016, his cross country squad experienced a historical campaign as they reeled in a CCCAA state championship following a fifth-place finish at the Southern California championships. This was the first time that a team has finished outside of the top-four in Southern California Regionals and went on to win a state title. McCarron's cross country teams have won the OEC Championship seven times and have captured the title the past four seasons. He has been awarded the OEC Cross Country Coach of Year seven times. In 2015 the Tigers finished second at the Southern California XC Championship and fourth at the State cross country Championship. The Tigers have had five top-five finishes at the state meet under coach McCarron’s tenure (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). In 2017, the Tigers finished second at state. In 2018, they finished fifth at state following an eighth-place finish at SoCals. The Tigers have had eight top-10 finishes at the Cross Country State Championships under McCarron. Furthermore, he coached Enrique Villa (’18) to two-consecutive OEC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Year awards.
McCarron has made it a priority to provide Division I competition for his teams. In his third season, he started a dual meet with Long Beach State and every year since then he has had Division I track and field programs come to Wheelock Stadium to compete against the Tigers. Over the past four seasons UCR, CSUF and Pepperdine have had a quadrangular meet against the Tigers at Wheelock Stadium. Cal Baptist and Azusa Pacific will be this upcoming year’s additions.
It all began in 2003 when McCarron became the head women’s track and cross country coach at Santa Ana College. Prior to that, he was an assistant at Fullerton College. While at Santa Ana, he won the conference coach of the year award and won OEC Coach of the Year honors in his second year with the Dons. At Fullerton, he helped the Hornets men’s team win the 2000 conference cross country title and the women’s track and field team win the conference championship.
McCarron began his coaching career as the head coach of John Glenn High School in Norwalk. He moved to Santa Fe High School where he was a history and English teacher and coached track, basketball, and cross country.
McCarron is a former standout track athlete, having run two years for UCLA after attending Cerritos College and UC Irvine. In high school, he was a two-time all-league selection in cross country. He helped Whittier Christian win two league cross country championships. As a track athlete, he was even better earning All-League and All-CIF honors as a 400 Meter runner. He was a two-time league champion in the event. He currently holds the school's record in the 4x100 and 4x400.
After graduating from high school, he competed for Cerritos College before eventually transferring to UC Irvine. After UC Irvine dropped their men's track program due to Title 9, he transferred to UCLA. In 1993 and 1995, he competed in the 400M, 800M and 4x400 relay for the Bruins helping them to a then-PAC-10 Championship. In 1994, McCarron spent his red-shirt running cross country and track meets throughout Europe.
McCarron, who holds a master’s degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University and an undergraduate degree from UCLA in history, has completed level one of the USA track and field certification program.
Coach McCarron is responsible for training the men’s cross country team. In track and field, he is responsible for training middle distances, decathletes and heptathletes, high jump, and javelin, McCarron lives in Riverside with his wife, Teresa, and their daughters, Catalina, Juliana and Gabriela.