Leaving: William & Mary
New Program: Florida
How This Effects Florida & Solinsky:
Everything is going well for the Gators as of late. With Cheserek no longer around, Florida has a much clearer path to multiple national championships as the Oregon Ducks look for ways to make up for the loss of points. Now, they add Chris Solinsky to their staff in an effort to upgrade one of their few weak spots (the long distances).
For Solinsky, this is huge. We can assume that his new contract with Florida is a significant pay raise from what he was making at W&M with an added bonus for any national titles he wins while on their staff. Again, I don't know the actual details of the contract, this is just an assumption. Regardless of the specifics, money probably did play a large role in his decision.
At the same time, Florida now has a guy capable of developing their distance squad for years to come. They may even see an improvement in their recruiting as high schoolers flock to work with the first American to run sub-27 minutes in the 10k. Obviously, this change will not take place over night. It will require a few years of solid recruiting and training to build a legitimate distance squad. Luckily, Solinsky will have a rising star in Jack Guyton to help ease his transition.
How This Effects William & Mary:
You can't help but feel bad for W&M. It seemed like Solinsky was ready to bring the Colonels back to the same level we saw in 2010. Now, Solinsky's successor (Mike Henderson), will enter the program with a bit of uncertainty. How will the incoming recruits react to not working with the guy that recruited them? How will their training change? You can't help but wonder if any W&M athletes will follow Solinsky to Florida by transferring...
Of course, that's not to say that Henderson can't be a successful coach. He has a great group of individuals that are showing signs of progress and his experience while serving as Princeton's Director of Operations makes him a great replacement for Solinsky.
The next few years will be crucial for the Colonels. If they can continue to improve and consistently recruit top-tier talent, then they could still return to the level we once saw seven years ago.
Leaving: Arizona State New Program: Oregon State How This Effects Oregon State and Quintana:
With his departure from ASU, Quintana will become the Director of Track & Field at Oregon State. Unfortunately, due to conflicts with Title IX, OSU doesn't have men's cross country or track & field.
Nonetheless, this will be a new start for Quintana who received quite a bit of criticism for the results his men's program produced during XC and on the track (most notably Bernie Montoya). Although some performances were lacking, Quintana was unfairly blamed for the lackluster performances of Montoya who discovered that he had a heart scare that nearly threatened to end his career.
How This Effects Arizona State:
While there may be some conflicting feelings about Quintana leaving, there is no doubt that this will be a fresh start for the Sun Devils as assistant coach Jeremy Rasmussen takes on the head coaching position. The great thing about Rasmussen is his experience, both with Arizona State and Illinois.
Rasmussen began his career racing for ASU where he was a PAC 12 steeplechase champion and national championship qualifier. After he graduated, Rasmussen went on to become an assistant coach for the Fighting Illini which he helped to a 6th place finish at the NCAA XC Championships.
In short, his resume is impressive.
It's difficult to say for sure how Rasmussen's training will impact the Sun Devils without Quintana around. We don't really know what his training methods are like and we don't know what kind of influence he has during recruitment. Still, the future for ASU is wide open and unwritten as the Sun Devils looks to enter the upper echelon of an already stacked PAC 12 conference.
Leaving: Northeastern New Program: LSU How This Effects LSU and Rinker:
Let's be blunt. LSU is not a school for distance running...and that's ok! The Tigers make up for that weakness with an elite-level sprinting program that has won them numerous national titles. Still, LSU desperately needs help in many facets of their long distance group. Luckily, Mark Rinker seems to be the perfect fit to lead this team towards a new direction.
During his time at Northeastern, Rinker held the position of Recruiting Coordinator in addition to his assistant coaching role. His recruitment experience will hopefully allow LSU to bring in an improved group of young talent over the next few years. That, of course, is a difficult task. As of late, the Tigers have not been done well during cross country. In 2016, LSU finished 2nd to last in the SEC championships...a conference that is already at the lower end of the Power Five.
Nonetheless, Rinker has proven that he can develop walk-on type athletes into national contenders. Just look at what he was able to accomplish with Paul Duffey as well as emerging underclassmen like Chance Lamberth and Marc Rienas. If Rinker can transition his training methods to his new program, then I feel confident that LSU will begin to show some improvement.
How This Effects Northeastern:
While it certainly seems like this would be a huge loss for the Red and Black, the team is actually keeping their original distance coach Matt Longeran. Longeran is now entering his fifth season with Northeastern after previously working with world-class athletes in Eugene, Oregon. He entered the program just after Eric Jenkins transferred to Oregon.
It's taken some time, but the Huskies are beginning to see their depth expand and their racing range widen. While I am sure that Rinker will be missed, Northeastern will continue to improve and stay competitive.