Patty Ley
Patty  Ley

Women's Head Coach


Alma Mater:
Pacific Lutheran, 1993


Hogan Paces GU Men to 10th Place Finish at Regionals

Zag redshirt freshman runs fourth-fastest 10k time in program history


Zag Men Place Fourth at WCC Championships; Women Place Fifth

Kaderabek and Thurston pace Bulldogs with top-20 finishes


Gonzaga Harriers Head to Conference Championships

Zags run in Oakland for West Coast Conference titles


Kaderabek Runs Sixth-Fastest 8K in Program History

Zag men place 16th against some of the nation's best


Gonzaga Men Place Fifth at Bill Dellinger Invitational

Fraley comes in 18th as an individual; Thurston leads GU women

Patty Ley (pronounced Lay), a native Washingtonian and no stranger to Pacific Northwest cross country and track and field, was named the first full-time assistant cross country/track and field coach for Gonzaga University in March, 2011.

Nine student-athletes have qualified for the NCAA West Preliminaries under Ley’s tutelage. Emily Thomas was the first in 2012.

Jessica Mildes became the first-ever Academic All-American in program history in 2016. She was named to the nation’s third team, before being tabbed first team in 2017.

In 2015, Shelby Mills became the first-ever GU student-athlete to compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She advanced to nationals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in her junior and senior seasons. Mills, Mildes and Maggie Jones all qualified for the 2015 NCAA West Prelims, the largest contingent in program history.

Ley was named the West Coast Conference Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2015. She guided the Zags to the WCC title and the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships. GU finished the season ranked No. 27 in the country after finishing 25th at the NCAA Championships.

Ley joined the Bulldogs from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., where she was hired in January, 2010, to coach the distance runners for the track and field team in the spring of 2010, and also be the head cross country coach in the fall of 2010. Recognized as one of the top developmental distance coaches in the country, she represented the United States as the head coach for the Team USA Junior Women’s Team at the World Cross Country Championships in March, 2010.

In her first season with the Captains the team won six USA South Athletic Conference titles in track and field and Elizabeth Bissell was named Outstanding Track Athlete at the outdoor championships for her 5k/10k sweep. Indoors, they earned nine CNU All-Time Rankings plus the school record in the women’s Distance Medley Relay. She also coached indoor 800m record holders Dira Hansen and Matthew Winkler. Outdoors, they added 14 more all-time rankings plus school records in the women’s 4x800m relay and men’s 3,000m steeplechase. In 2010, the men placed first and the women second in the USA South Athletic Conference cross country championship, and the women placed third and the men eighth at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional. Ley is a graduate of Gig Harbor, Wash., High. She held Washington State Class AA meet records in the 1600m (4:57.1) and cross country (3mi - 17:13.9) and was a 7-time State Class AA Champion from the 4x400m to cross country. She competed in nine State Championships in cross country, basketball, and track and field. Ley was named to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer All-Century Cross Country Team in 2000. She was inducted in to the Pierce County Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.

Overcoming injuries during her collegiate career, she lettered at the University of Oregon, Washington State University, and Pacific Lutheran University, graduating in 1993 from the latter, where she still holds school records in the 800m, 1500m and 3,000m. Her 1500m record of 4:15.61 qualified her for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992. In 1994, she ranked 19th in the U.S. in the 3,000m training with her former high school coach Joel Wingard working as an assistant coach at Gig Harbor High.

As an assistant at Gig Harbor, the 1992, the boys’ cross country team was State Class AA runner-up and the girls placed second at the 1993 State Class AA Track and Field Championships. The next year the girls won both State cross country and track and field titles while the boys were runner-up both. In 1994-95 the boys were twice runners-up again while the girls added a second place cross country trophy and another track and field championship. The boys swept State Class AA title in 1995-96 in both cross country and track and field, while the girls added another track and field second-place trophy. Upon Coach Wingard’s retirement in 1999, Ley took over both programs before handing off the track and field duties in 2003-04. The next year started the most successful run in school history.

In 2004 the girls’ cross country team, without any seniors, lost the State Class AA Championship on a tie-breaker. They won the next three championships and the boys’ team placed second in 2007. The 2005 girls’ team placed 7th at Nike Team Nationals. They added another runner-up finish at State in 2008 and the distance squads were crucial to the boys’ State track and field titles in 2005 and 2007, with a second-place finish sandwiched between. The girls’ track and field team also won the 2007 State title. She was named Washington State Cross Country Girls’ Coach of the Year in 2006, as well as being National Federation of High Schools’ Northwest Regional Girls’ Coach of the Year, one of eight finalists for the NFHS National Coach of the Year award, and received the same honor for the 2007 cross country season. With young squads again in the fall of 2009, her girls placed fourth at the State cross country meet and her top boys’ runner placed second, covering the 5k course in 15:22.

Ley has two children, a daughter Meaghan and a son Brendon.

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