COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Longtime assistant coach Roland Desonier of the Maryland Track and Field program has announced his retirement from coaching this year after a storied career at the University of Maryland. Desonier’s career at Maryland lasted nearly three decades, as he coached dozens of all-conference performances and NCAA All-Americans during his tenure.
“Roland’s dedication to the University of Maryland and our athletic program truly encompasses what It means to be a Terp,” said University of Maryland Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson. “His service as a coach, leader and mentor for three decades truly made a positive influence on our student-athletes. We are grateful for his contributions and wish him the very best in his retirement.”
At Maryland, Desonier has coached 38 All-Conference performers and a pair of All-Americans in the throwing events, including Ruth Kura, who was ranked fourth nationally and 10th in the world. He has coached 38 throwers to appearances in NCAA regional meets since 2004. Desonier received an honorary M Club award at the 2016 University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame induction.
“Roland Desonier has been an integral part of the Maryland Terrapin family for the past 30 years,” said head track and field coach Andrew Valmon. “The impact he had on our throwing program will be felt for decades to come. We wish him the best and know that he will be a Terp for Life.”
Coach Desonier plans to spend his retirement with his wife and family in New Mexico
Track & Field Assistant Coach
2013 Track & Field Graduate
"Having the opportunity to be coached by Roland as well as coach along side him was an invaluable experience for me. His passion to make his athletes better was always apparent. He not only coached me in the javelin but also taught me how to coach the event and what to look for. He always mentored athletes and other coaches. Our track and field program was fortunate to have a dedicated, passionate and successful coach for the last 29 years."
Jessie Hill (Echard)
Track & Field Graduate, M Club President
"I'll never forget what Coach Roland said to my dad concluding my recruiting trip at UMD. He told my dad, "If Jessie comes here, I'll be her father for the next 4 years. You won't have to worry about her." Not only did he keep his word by playing such a special role in my development and growth as an athlete and a human, but Roland also took me from a decent shot/discus thrower, to an All-ACC hammer thrower in just 4 years! He has always prided himself, not on the distance of the throws, but on how much he helped each athlete improve their own personal best. Ask any of his throwers- he knows exactly how far they threw at each meet. He even remembers what their practice looked like the week before the meet, too! Having Coach Roland Desonier dedicated to the Maryland track team for the last 29 years was a blessing to the track program and countless individual athletes."
2006 Track & Field Graduate
"Few people have had a larger influence in my life than Roland Desonier. As a coach, he was a mentor, best friend, favorite teacher and always knew how to uniquely cajole athletes into giving their best performances. His ability to turn countless walk-ons into All-Conference success stories will be the lasting legacy of his 30 year career."