Our Coaches


Joe Escobar and David Kohls 
Head Coaches

Coach Escobar, Men's Head Coach

Credentials: Acalanes alum, former assistant coach at Las Lomas High School and Diablo Valley Track and Field club. Coach Escobar also worked as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) during his early years as a track coach.

Fun Fact: Coach Escobar has also coached (or still coaches) soccer, football, and cross country at Acalanes for the past 10 years. Loves the movie Cars.


David Kohls, Women's Head Coach 

Credentials: Head Coach at San Ramon Valley HS in 2018 and Acalanes HS in 2019. Ten years as coach at Stanley Middle School heading a multi-year championship track and field program.

Fun Fact: Is writing and composing a musical "Tab Stop's Brave New Future".  Has never seen the movie Cars.



Ed Basaldua Head of Distance


Sue Gersten 

Ed Basaldua, Head of Distance Team 

Credentials: Coach Ed is entering his second year as our head distance coach. This past fall, he helped lead our boys Cross Country team to a 2nd place finish at NCS and a berth at the CIF State Cross Country Championships.

Fun Fact: Coach Ed also ran for Stanford and posted an impressive 9:11 in the 3200m.


Sue Gersten, Distance

Credentials: Coach Sue is also entering her seond year with the team. She is an accomplished recreational runner and constant positive presence on the field

Joy Upshaw Hurdles, Jumps

Joy Upshaw, Jumps, Hurdles and Sprints

Credentials: 5 time world champion, numerous time national champion in masters track and field, USA Track and Field Mentor Coach 2012 Olympic Trials, Sprint Coach World Indoors 2014, Level 1, 2 & 3 USA Track and Field Certification, IAAF Level 55 time world champion, 

Fun Fact: Joy comes from a family of track stars, sister Grace Upshaw (Beijing Olympics Long Jump), father Monte Upshaw (broke Jesse Owens 21-year long jump record) Sunny and Windy Margerum. 


Chris Clark Throws

John Burns, Scott Brady Smith,

with famous Acalanes alumni Peter Schaffer and Brent Burns 

Chris Clark, Shot Put and Discus

Experience:  In addition to  his rxtensive training under John Godina in shot and discus, Chris is also the head athletic trainer at Acalanes. He has been a pillar of Acalanes Track and Field for over 10 years 

Fun Fact: Graduate of Saint Mary's College.


John (Doc) Burns, Throws, Pole Vault

Credentials: 50 years competing in masters track and field He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he threw javelin and discus. In addition to his 50+ years as a competitor, Doc has put together a legendary 30+ years as a coach at Acalanes.

Fun Fact: Doc's son, Brent Burns is a North Coast section (and school) record holder in the pole vault (17-8.5)


Scott Brady Smith, Jumps, Hurdles and Sprints

Credentials: An El Cerrito High and Cal graduate, Scott previously coached at Acalanes High School (1978-81 / 1987-90) and Campolindo (2001-2016). Scott wrote the original USA Track & Field Certification Curriculum for the jumping events and biomechanics.

Fun Fact: Coached three of the North Coast section's current record holders: Maggie VanZeeland (HJ: 5-11), Brent Burns (PV: 17-8.5) (Doc Burn's son), and Kristin Heaston (SP: 52-11.5) Kristin is Acalanes' beloved teacher and aquatics coach Steve Heaston's daughter.  Coach Brady Smith is a retired English teacher from Campolindo (2016) who is finishing his first novel (Every former English teacher has one in him or her!)


Michael McCullough 
Pole Vault

Mike McCullough, Pole Vault

Credentials: coming soon...

Fun Fact: coming soon...

Ken Bayless, Pole Vault

Credentials: coming soon...

Fun Fact: coming soon...

Tasha McNamara 
Boosters Rep

Tasha McNamara, Boosters Rep

Fun Fact: The stadium lights on top of her head make her look like a princess, which she pretty much is since she keeps the team running!