New Balance has announced this afternoon that Dartmouth’s head women cross country coach Mark Coogan will be joining the New Balance Running Sports Marking Team as a full time associate, effective January 15th. According to the press release, Coogan will serve multiple roles within the company: “Not only will Mark be a great coaching resource for our Team New Balance athletes, but his running knowledge and expertise, coupled with his relationships within the running world will make him a valuable asset as we continue to develop our global athlete, college and high school strategies, ” according to John Evans, New Balance General Manager of Running Sports Marketing.
“While it was a difficult decision to leave Dartmouth, the opportunity to join New Balance was something I just couldn’t pass up. New Balance has been really building momentum these past few years and it is exciting to be part of such a great company again,” Coogan was quoted in the press release.
Coogan has been involved with the Dartmouth program since 2010, where he first joined the Big Green staff as an assistant coach for cross country and track. Coogan was elevated to the head coaching position for the women’s cross country team before the 2011 cross country season. Since his promotion, Dartmouth has revitalized their distance program with the recent successes of individuals (Alexi Pappas (’12) and Abbey D’Agostino) and of the team. In particular, 2013 was quite a successful year for the Big Green. Not only did they win their first cross country Heps title in 16 years (1997), but they earned their first team berth to the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 12 years (2001) and finished 16th in the team standings.
According to DartmouthSports.com, Coogan will continue to coach until the end of the 2014 outdoor season while beginning his work with New Balance.
UPDATE: Letsrun co-founder and former Cornell men distance coach Robert Johnson spoke to Coogan about this transition. Coogan spoke more about the decision, the team’s reaction to this news, who/how he will be able to coach, and how the transition will go.
I am going to keep my group through the spring. New Balance said I can come up here on Tuesdays and that’s typically our hard day and Dartmouth has agreed to allow me to do that as well. So while it won’t be a perfect world they are still going to have me as their coach. Even when I’m not here, I’m only a phone call, text or email away – so I’ll be helping them through the end of June. We have an assistant coach here Scott Phelps whom they will report to when I’m not here. At practice time, they’ll check in with him so he can make sure everything is going well.
The program is in really good shape right now. We are a pretty good team. We would have won Heps without Abbey and we would have made the NCAA championships this fall as well when you take her out of the scoring and re-add it up. So the team is going to continue to do really well.
The full interview can be found here.