The last couple of weeks have been saturated with post-NCAA Championship analysis and plenty of transfer headlines. While the latter will still be plentiful in the coming weeks, we did want to get everyone caught up on a few pieces of news that deserve some attention...
South Carolina Hires Tim Hall as Next Director of Track & Field and Cross Country
Late last week, the University of South Carolina announced that Tim Hall, the former sprints coach at Kentucky (most recently) and Tennessee, has been hired as the Gamecocks' newest Director of Track & Field and Cross Country.
The move stems from South Carolina's former Director, Curtis Frye, recently announcing his retirement. Frye was with the SEC program for 27 years.
Hall is one of the most accomplished sprints coaches in the country, developing top talents in the always-competitive Southeastern Conference. In fact, he guided Brianna Rollins (2012), Christian Coleman (2017) and Abby Steiner (2022) to winning The Bowerman Award.
The South Carolina men and women have had an admittedly limited competitive distance presence throughout their recent history. However, the recent introduction of middle and long distance standouts such as Silan Ayyildiz, Sylvia Chelangat and Anass Essayi have been pleasantly surprising deviations from the Gamecocks' traditional sprints-centric focus.
With the hiring of Tim Hall, it's unclear what South Carolina's future coaching staff will look like. Should there be any changes in the distance coaching role, currently held by decade-long Gamecock coach Andrew Allden, then it could be fair to question what happens to the likes of Ayyildiz, Chelangat and Essayi in a (strictly theoretical) scenario such as that.
Portland State Dismisses Coach David Hepburn Following Eligibility Challenges From 2023 Outdoor Track Season
Earlier this spring, Portland State's Jordan MacIntosh was listed as the eighth-best steeplechaser in the West region for the 2023 outdoor track season. He had run as fast as 8:39 over the barriers and water pits, a time that also put him at NCAA #16 on the overall national leaderboard.
MacIntosh, however, was not eligible for this year's West Regional Championships, although to no fault of his own. According to MacIntosh, and later affirmed by an official announcement from Portland State, the Vikings did not meet eligibility requirements this year after the men's team failed, "to have at least 14 athletes compete at eight meets over the indoor and outdoor track seasons."
MacIntosh is not expected to hold any remaining NCAA eligibility.
As a result, Coach David Hepburn will not have his contact renewed. A "nationwide" search for a new head coach at Portland State is currently underway. Daniel Goetz has since been named as the Vikings' interim head coach.
Portland State is a program also responsible for developing Katie Camarena, a recent (and now graduated) distance standout who ran times of 4:32 (mile) and 8:57 (3k). Camarena spent time at UC-Santa Barbara before joining the Vikings in 2021.
Amber Williams Hired as Next Men's Head Track & Field and Cross Country Coach at Pomona-Pitzer
Earlier this month, Pomona-Pitzer announced that Amber Williams will be the new men's track and field and cross country coach, a Division Three distance running powerhouse.
Coach Kyle Flores, who was responsible for overseeing the development of the men's distance team since former men's coach Jordan Carpenter left the program in the summer of 2021, is no longer listed as a coach in any capacity for the Sagehens.
The offseason coaching change comes as a surprising one. Flores had extended the already-incredible success that Carpenter had in the fall of 2021 after the Sagehen men won the Division Three team title at the NCAA XC Championships. They later finished 5th overall at the 2022 cross country national meet this past fall.
Colin Kirkpatrick, at one point, held the Division Three steeplechase record earlier this spring. Bennett Booth-Genthe, meanwhile, was viewed as one of the best all-around middle distance runners that Division Three had to offer this past year. The Sagehens continued to produce some of the best overall depth of any distance program on the track in 2023.
Williams previously coached at Columbia where she was the sprints, hurdles and relays coach. She was also the former head coach of the women's team at Cleveland State. The Sagehens' newest leader does not appear to hold any direct long distance coaching experience.
Colorado Investigation Finds That Body Composition Tests Were Harmful For "Significant Number" of Athletes, Per Runner's World
Last year, Kate Intile, a former athlete of Colorado's track and field and cross country program from 2017 to 2019, "submitted complaints" on the behalf of herself and 13 former Buffalo athletes. The complaints pertained to body composition tests offered by Colorado.
The complaints suggested that the track and field and cross country programs at Colorado influenced eating disorders and facilitated an unhealthy environment and culture.
Following the conclusion of the investigation, the University of Colorado found that the body composition tests, "negatively impacted a significant number of student-athletes," according to the 82-page report provided by Runner's World.
No staff changes are being made, although the university, "will enact new guidelines surrounding body composition testing." For additional details, we would encourage everyone to read the full article (and report) crafted by Cindy Kuzma for Runner's World.
Kyle Gibson Hired As Houston's Next Distance Coach
Late last week, the University of Houston announced that former Oklahoma State assistant coach Kyle Gibson was being hired as the Cougars' next distance coach. He is expected to lead the men's and women's programs during the fall months.
Gibson worked under Oklahoma State's Dave Smith for the 2022-23 academic calendar after serving as the head cross country coach for Oral Roberts. He also spent two years as the head track and field and cross country coach at Drury University from 2019 to 2021.
The University of Houston has recently undergone a change in leadership. The departure of Leroy Burrell, the new Director at Auburn, last summer has since led to Will Blackburn being named as the team's newest Director while Carl Lewis has been named as the team's head coach.
Last year's press release states that the two coaches will "work congruently in their roles."
Houston's distance role was once headlined by Steve Magness, a widely-known athletic performance expert and author. He previously worked with Nike Oregon Project before speaking out against the pro group with allegations of improper performance enhancing methods.
During his time as Houston's distance coach, Magness was responsible for developing Brian Barraza, one of the NCAA's top steeplechasers of the past decade.
Since Magness' departure, the Cougars have effectively had zero presence in the distance events. In fact, in the fall of 2021, Houston fielded just three men at the South Central Regional XC Championships (per TFRRS) despite entering a full seven-man lineup at the American Athletic Conference Championships two weeks beforehand.
Both men's and women's teams were fielded for Houston at the 2022 South Central Regional XC Championships.
With a 2022 cross country roster that featured just nine men, two of whom were graduate students, Coach Kyle Gibson will need time to heavily recruit over the next few years. He will also need to significantly develop a distance roster that has proven to be secondary for this sprints-centric program.
Kelly Hart Named As Colorado State's Next Women's Distance Coach
In early May, Colorado State announced that assistant distance coach Kelly Hart was being promoted as the Rams' newest head cross country and distance coach.
Andrew Epperson, who took over as the team's head distance coach in the summer of 2022 following the departure of Art Siemers, is no longer listed on the Rams' 2023 track and field coaching roster. His name does remain on Colorado State's 2022 cross country page, although that isn't necessarily a reflection of the upcoming 2023 season.
It is unclear why Epperson is no longer with the team.
Prior to her coaching career, Hart emerged as a fairly competitive middle distance runner for the Notre Dame women. The newest head distance coach of the Rams ran times of 2:05 (800) and 2:48 (1k) while also playing a role in an All-American DMR finish for the Fighting Irish in 2017.
Hart graduated from Notre Dame in the summer of 2021 before joining Tulsa as an assistant distance coach. It is unclear if Colorado State will be adding a separate assistant distance coach to their staff for later this fall.
Julie Heyde Hired as Next Head Track & Field and Cross Country Coach at MIT
Earlier this month, MIT announced that Julie Heyde will be the program's next Director of Track & Field and Cross Country.
Heyde previously worked as an assistant coach for Boston College for over a decade. She even emerged as the Golden Eagles' interim Director for their women's team last spring (and summer) before Coach Pete Watson was hired.
Todd Linder, who just finished his 10th year with MIT, served as the program's interim Director throughout 2022 and over the first-half of 2023. Linder temporarily filled the Director role left behind by Halston Taylor who retired at the conclusion of the 2021 cross country season.
Riley Macon, who was named as the Engineers' men's and women's head cross country in July of 2022, remains listed as MIT's distance coach.