Jim McCarron is in 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 level, and the top program in the state. 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, and his high rates of transferring student-athletes to universities, and building winning teams with depth and quality in all event areas.
Coach McCarron is the most winning coach in RCC’s 104 year history with eight state titles. Riverside enters the 2019 season having won eight state championships in the last eleven seasons. In spring of 2019 the Tiger track and field team dominated the competition winning their 7th state track and field championship in McCarron’s tenure, scoring 116 points. In the fall of 2016 the Tigers added the first CCCAA cross country state championship at RCC in 22 years, and did it after finishing 5th at the So Cal Championships, a feat never accomplished in CCCAA state cross country history. McCarron’s track and field teams have won 13 consecutive Orange Empire Conference Championships, and four consecutive cross country 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 3-peat when his track and field team won the 2014 state title.
Coach 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 Community College’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. The 2013 team now has the second most points ever scored in a CCCAA state championship. Teams coached by McCarron have featured overall depth never seen at the community college level, and the 2013 squad demonstrated that best with Tigers scoring in 17 of the 21 events contested at the state meet. For their accomplishment, the 2013 team was named the Press Enterprise Team of the Year.
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 2010 and 2019, he was selected as the Orange Empire Conference Male Coach of the Year. He also was selected the 2010 and 2019 California Community College Track and Field Coach of the Year. He has won the conference coach of the year award for track and field fourteen times (once as the head women’s coach at Santa Ana College), and eight times in cross country.
During coach McCarron’s tenure at RCC, over 275 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 (the highest academic honor awarded to the top student-athlete in all sports). McCarron has coached 50 state champions, 175 all-Americans and 250 all-state student-athletes in both track and field and cross country.
The 2016 cross country campaign was a historic one with the Tigers winning the CCCAA state championship after placing fifth at the southern California championship. For this achievement McCarron was selected as the 2016 CCCAA state cross country coach of the year. Coach McCarron's cross country teams have won the OEC Championship eight times, and have captured the title the past four seasons. He has been awarded the OEC XC coach of year eight times. In 2017 his team finished 2nd at state, only 5 points from first. The 2017 team erased an 80 point deficit from So Cal to state against the eventual winner to take 2nd. In 2018 the Tigers finished 5th in state, and 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 5 finishes (2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017, 2018), and nine top 10 finishes at the Cross Country State Championships under coach McCarron.
Coach McCarron has made it a priority to provide Division 1 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 1 track and field programs come to Wheelock Stadium to compete against the Tigers. Over the past six seasons UCR, CSUF, Pepperdine have had a quadrangular meet against the Tigers at Wheelock Stadium.
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 won 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 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. To this day, he still holds the school's record in the 4x100 and 4x400.
After graduating from high school, he competed for Cerritos College for one season before eventually transferring to UC Irvine. After UC Irvine dropped their men's track program due to Title 9, he transferred to UCLA. He competed (400, 800 meters and 4x400 relay) for the Bruins in 1993 and 1995, helping the Bruins to the PAC-10 Championship. In 1994, McCarron spent his red-shirt running cross country and track meets throughout Europe.
Over his 23 year coaching career, Coach McCarron’s teams have given back to the community in many ways. For the past 15 years McCarron’s teams have organized and conducted clinics yearly for Special Olympians and their coaches. McCarron speaks at track and field and cross country clinics yearly. He and his staff annually host community all-comers track and field meets. McCarron wrote the training workouts for the Riverside Police Department Baker to Vegas Run. He has volunteered on many occasions for Riverside YEMP, which is a program where speakers from the community meet with middle school children in Riverside to share their profession and motivate them to pursue the best route to reach their professional goals. McCarron and his teams have volunteered with local organizations like Assistance League of Riverside and Missing Children’s Resource Center in in his 13 year tenure at RCC.
McCarron, who holds a master’s degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University and an undergraduate degree from UCLA in history, has completed level I of the USA track and field certification program.
Coach McCarron is a professor of Kinesiology and is responsible for training the men’s cross country team. In track and field he is responsible for training middle distances, decathletes and heptathletes, and javelin, McCarron lives in Riverside with his wife, Teresa, and their daughters, Catalina, Juliana and Gabriela.