BY JAKE KRZECZOWSKI | APRIL 23, 2009 7:29 AM
The feeling of being right at home is an odd one for women’s track and field head coach Layne Anderson.
Having rarely spent more than three or four years in any one place his whole life, the six years he has spent at Iowa seems like an eternity.
“This is actually the longest I’ve ever lived in one community without moving,” he said. “I feel like I settled in sometime during the first year.”
When Anderson was young, he frequently moved. With his dad in the Army, Anderson and his family spent time everywhere from Italy and Germany to Texas and Georgia.
After a few moves, it started to become routine.
“Growing up in a military atmosphere, you learn to adapt and adjust,” Anderson said.
When it came time to go to college, the head coach just saw it as another move, choosing to attend the Citadel, located in Charleston, S.C.
Having grown up in a military lifestyle, the discipline was not hard for Anderson to get used to.
The military academy was perfect for the self-proclaimed “Army brat,” not that he’s eager to go back.
“It’s a great place to go, but I wouldn’t do it again,” he said.
While at the Citadel, Anderson was a three-time Southern Conference individual champion and academic all-conference athlete. During his stay, he broke 10 school records and was named team MVP three years in a row. Anderson also was a member of a national champion distance medley relay.
During his sophomore year at the Citadel, he realized a military profession was not what he wanted, so he shifted his focus to coaching.
“I certainly had a productive career there,” Anderson said. “I got a great education and learned some good life skills.”
When it came time to graduate, he headed to Auburn for a Ph.D. program and soon began helping the coaching staff there.
It was at Auburn he met his wife, Alexis, who was also a graduate student there.
After bouncing back and forth between Auburn and Texas Tech, Anderson was offered the coaching job for the cross-country team at Iowa and an assistant coach position on the track and field team.
He chose to join the Hawkeye staff because it felt like the best situation for him.
“I felt Iowa gave me the best chance to do some big things,” he said. “All the pieces were in place, we just needed some hard work.”
After then-head coach James Grant lost a long battle with cancer and died in 2007, Anderson was there to step in and try to fill the hole Grant left in the program with little drop-off.
“I think he really watched how Coach Grant led us,” senior Racheal Marchand said. “After he passed away, Coach Anderson did a good job of picking up where Grant left off.”
He is a coach’s coach all the way, something Anderson attributes to his upbringing. His coaching staff appreciates this approach, crediting the team’s success to his philosophy of coaching.
“He lets coaches coach, he’s very supportive,” Iowa assistant coach Clive Roberts said. “He does the little things you may not realize.”
Finally in a place he can call home with Alexis and his 1-year-old son Sawyer, Anderson is happy.
“I’ve settled in and gotten comfortable,” Anderson said. “I can see myself here for the long haul.”