Track & field program and college mourns loss of Lloyd Higgins

Coach Higgins (back row on the right with white hat) with the 2017 Falcons state championship team
Coach Higgins (back row on the right with white hat) with the 2017 Falcons state championship team


It was no coincidence that as soon as Lloyd Higgins joined the Cerritos College men's and women's coaching staff in 2008, they immediately became a state power in throws competition. Higgins, who was named the CCCAA State Assistant Coach of the Year three times, lost his battle with cancer and died peacefully at home on February 20.

"Coach Higgins' vast accomplishments were always understated from him being a Hall of Famer, Coach of the Year and one of the most decorated coaches in CCCAA History," said Falcons head coach Chris Richardson. "Coach Higgins will be missed, and his impact will live forever. A truly great man, mentor, friend, and coach who has positively changed the lives of thousands."

Initially a high jumper and basketball player while at Manual Arts High School and at Point Loma Nazarene University (formerly Pasadena College), Higgins was named the NAIA National High Jump Champion at both the indoor and outdoor meets during his senior year in college in 1968. His leap of 6'10 3/4" is still one of the best in school history at Point Loma. He was the first Crusader to reach All-American status in two sports in the same year.

As a sophomore in college, Higgins was the team's MVP as the Crusaders won the first Pasadena College Invitational Tournament. In his three years on varsity, he led the Crusaders to 70 wins in 98 games and a district playoff berth each year. As a senior in 1968, Higgins was a 1st Team All-American, as the Crusaders won the District Championship with a 26-5 record and made PC's fourth appearance in the national tournament. At the NAIA National Championships in Kansas City, Higgins had the rare privilege of appearing solo on the cover of the program for the weeklong tournament. Higgins was also a member of the NAIA All-Star team that won in the Olympic trials of 1968, while he was also drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 8th Round of the 1968 NBA Draft but did not play any games.

Higgins then began teaching at Monrovia High and was an assistant track and field coach at Citrus College, where he worked with high jumpers and decathletes.

Higgins earned the state's Assistant Coach of the Year in 2014 Coach Higgins with Olympian Whitney Ashley Since his arrival in 2008, Higgins helped the Falcon women's track and field team win seven state championships (2008, 2009, 2013, 2015-17, 2019) along with eight Southern California Championships (2009-10, 2012-13, 2015-17, 2019) and nine South Coast Conference championships (2008-09, 2013-19). In addition to their second place finish at the state championships in 2014, they tied for second in 2012, tied for third in 2010 and came in fourth place in 2011. Five second place finishes at the SoCal Championships and three conference second place finishes can also be attributed to the points compiled by the team's throwers.

Among his accomplishments with individual success, he coached 13 state champions, while helping four heptathletes and two decathlets with their throws on their way to state titles. Every women's throwing school record was broken under the guidance of Higgins, as well as the men's hammer school record. He helped Whitney Ashley (pictured, right with Higgins) achieve her lifelong goal of making the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and placed first at the Olympic Trials. She won the state championship in the discus for the Falcons in 2008, as well as the NCAA National Championship in the discus for San Diego State University.

"Lloyd was a staple in the Cerritos track and field family," said Cerritos Athletic Director Maria Castro. "His "throw far" motto was encompassed by all of the throwers. He influenced and developed many student-athletes throughout his tenure at Cerritos. We are very saddened by this loss, and he will be missed."

Higgins spent the last several months dedicating the last part of his life and strength to the 2023 Falcons throws teams and was able see all his hard work in his final meet at the Cerritos Meet on February 10th.

The program will host a Memorial Event on May 21 with the time and location still being determined.

"The Cerritos College track and field family is heartbroken," added Richardson. "But I know Coach Higgins would say - Shut Up and Throw Far."