The quest to bring women’s track and cross-country to Laney College began in 1995. I approached the President of Laney about the feasibility of starting a program.
At that time there were also some discussions about replacing the current all-weather track and installing a new one. Also plans were being made to install a new all-weather grass (turf) football field. The President told me to do some research on the subject.
I got three proposals on the cost of replacing the current surface. The current one was completely warn out. I was present when it was installed in 1973. It was a Tartan Highland track, the Rolls Royce running surfaces. Tartan Highland was no longer in business.
Three new companies where now in the picture. Mondo, a track installer from Canada, it was the most expensive, one from Oregon and one from Oklahoma.
I met with the college president and his dean of instruction. They looked at only track surface, it was sent from Mondo. They said that they would like to see the other two brands. Before we could meet again, the president retired and everything came to a halt.
The dean of instruction was named the new president. He said that he was still interested and told me to keep on with my efforts to start women’s track. Me and the person who was going to be my assistant coach, James Robinson, started to recruit runners. We had 15 runners who had committed to come to Laney.
I had been meeting with the president periodically when he suddenly stopped seeing me. He told me that he could no longer support my efforts to start a women’s track program. I was shocked and disappointed. We had to tell all of the girls that we recruited that we were not going to have a track team. Our credibility was destroyed with the local high school coaches.
In the spring of 1998 I once more started tinkering with the idea of bringing back women’s track and field. On April 14th I appeared before the Peralta Community College’s board meeting. I pointed out the need for the sport in the district. I also pointed out that Title IX provides that the school’s athletic teams must reflect the gender makeup of the student body. Laney College was clearly out of compliance with that Title IX mandate.
In the Spring of 1999 Stan Peters, Laney College Athletic Director, came to my math class to tell me some good news, we were going to get women’s track and field at Laney. We had gone through four presidential changes, including a woman who wanted to start a badminton program instead of a traditional sport.
I finally found a president who even gave me a chance, Dr. Deborah Blue. I would see her on the elevator in the tower building. I would ask her what were the chances of getting a track program at Laney. She would smile politely say nothing. Finally one day, again on the elevator I asked her again about the track program. She said that she would look into it. I finally had hope.
I had been talking to everybody, including the Chancellor, Ron Temple, about the track program. He told me that the college president had to request that she wanted to have the program. She finally did. She went before the Peralta Board and made it official. It had been 25 years 24 years since there had been a track program at Laney. Although it was a men’s team.
James Robinson, and me, once again had to find some female runners. The Fall semester had already started, so we didn’t have the luxury of recruiting high school runners. We had to find some girls on campus. We put flyers out all over the campus. We even put an announcement in the Laney College Tower, the school newspaper.
Our efforts turned up eight girls. Only one of them had any track experience and she hadn’t ran track for three years.
Dr. Proverb G. Jacobs, Jr.
Men’s Track Coach – 1975-1978
Women’s Track Coach – 2002-2005
A Team Is Born
An historic event to place at Mendocino College in Ukiah California. At 3:30 p.m. on Friday, February 15, 2002. Two women from Laney College lined up at the start of the 100 meter dash. When the gun sounded, track and field history was made. Shanina Shumate and Erica Carter became the first women to compete for the school in track and field. At 4:45 Yassin Jenneh lined up and started the 5,000 meter run, to become the third woman to compete for the college.
With a couple of pair of three-year-old spikes, Shanina had them from when she ran as a junior in high school, she loaned a pair to Erica. They had make shift uniforms made up black tights and recently purchased Laney T-shirts. The only thing that made our uniforms official was the silk-screening on the front: LANEY COLLEGE LADY EAGLES TRACK and on the back our team motto: “JUST RUN.”
To see records, please click here.
Northern California Statistics (Nor-Cal Stat)
Dye Stat California
Track and Field News
USA Track and Field
United States Olympic Committee
Nor Cal Track and Cross Country
California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA)
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)
Laney Men’s Track and Field History -1966-1978 Data and Record Book
Lady Eagles Track and Field History and Records: 2002-Present