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NEWS: Ryan Vanhoy Leaves Ole Miss to Secure Director Role at Cal Poly


Earlier today, Cal Poly announced that Ole Miss distance coach Ryan Vanhoy would be joining the Mustangs as the team's newest Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. The move follows another stunning transition from earlier this month when Sean Carlson was announced as Tennessee's newest Director of Cross Country.

Vanhoy has quickly become one of the most well respected middle and long distance coaches in the country during his still-young career. Since taking over the Rebels' distance groups in 2015 as the associate head cross country coach, the North Carolina native has transformed the reputation of runners in Oxford, Mississippi.


Vanhoy is responsible for producing numerous sub-four minute milers, multiple national champions and some of the NCAA's better cross country teams over the past decade. All of this while seeing substantial progression from most of his athletes.


Vanhoy was responsible for producing recent national champions such as Mario Garcia Romo and Sintayehu Vissa, as well as the 2017 men's Distance Medley Relay champions.


Vanhoy is also responsible for developing post-collegiate standouts such as Craig Engels, Waleed Suliman and Robert Domanic prior to their professional running careers.


According to an excerpt from Cal Poly's press release, Ole Miss is "...one of just four schools, nationally, to have both men's and women's cross country teams finish inside the Top 25 at each of the last six NCAA Championship meets."


At the 2020 SEC XC Championships, the Ole Miss men swept the top-three individual spots. In 2016, the Rebel men also earned an incredible 4th place team finish at the NCAA XC Championships, earning All-American honors as a team.


On paper, there are a few promising pieces within Cal Poly's distance program that could be built upon. This past spring, Aidan McCarthy ran 1:48 for 800 meters and 3:44 for 1500 meters. Xian Shively ran 13:58 for 5000 meters while Jake Ritter ran 28:55 for 10,000 meters.


On the women's side, Cassidy Hubert and Misty Diaz both ran 2:09 marks for 800 meters. Diaz also ran 4:26 for 1500 meters.


On the grass, the Mustangs haven proven to be a respectable team within their conference. Both their men's and women's teams finished within the top-three of the BIG West XC Championships last fall.


However, in order for this Cal Poly group to be competitive nationally, they'll need to improve upon their 15th (men) and 14th (women) place team finishes at the West Regional XC Championships from the 2021 cross country season.


Vanhoy has plenty of work to do, but he also turned around an Ole Miss distance program that was once fairly mediocre within the confines of the SEC prior to his arrival. If there is anyone in the NCAA who can advance the Mustangs to the next level, it's the former distance coach of the Rebels.


With Vanhoy now on the move, we must now ask a few questions about the future.


Who will take over Ole Miss' distance group? Will there be any transfers from Ole Miss to Cal Poly? What happens to high school superstar and Ole Miss signee Cade Flatt who has run 1:46 for 800 meters as a high schooler?


Is the Mustangs' athletic department willing to further invest in the long-term success of this program? Could Cal Poly really contend with some of the west coast distance powerhouses in a few years time?


Keep in mind that when Vanhoy left Northeastern for Ole Miss, numerous men left their respective schools to join him. MJ Erb left Syracuse, Wesley Gallagher left Northeastern, Craig Engels left NC State and Ryan Manahan left Georgetown.


All of them eventually ventured to Oxford, Mississippi.


It may take some time for those questions to be answered, but the ripple effect that this coaching move may have throughout the rest of the NCAA has the potential to be massive.

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