Penn State’s Beth Alford-Sullivan Named Future President of the USTFCCCA
ORLANDO, Fla. – Director and Head Coach of Penn State track and field and cross country Beth Alford-Sullivan has been named the future President of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Sullivan was nominated and elected during the opening session at annual USTFCCCA Convention in December. Sullivan, who is no stranger to the organization having served in several other capacities over the years, will begin her two-year term during the summer of 2013.
The USTFCCCA Board of Directors has officers from all three NCAA divisions as well as representation from an at-large group that includes high schools, NAIA, and junior college coaches.
“It’s an honor to be elected to serve as the USTFCCCA president,” Sullivan said. “I am committed to continuing to serve our association and its coaches to the best of my ability. Sam Seemes – our CEO – and the national office have provided us with an association that is professional, first class, and productive. I look forward to representing all three divisions of our great sports of track and field and cross country. I’m very excited to take office.”
“Beth has shown great leadership within the association already and our members are excited to have her as their future president,” Seemes said. “I believe the organization will benefit greatly with her in the position. We have a broad membership base that encompasses institutions of all shapes and sizes and she has the tools necessary to bring the factions together in advancing proactive measures that are beneficial to the group.”
Most recently, Sullivan served as the USTFCCCA president of the Division I Track & Field Committee, from 2009-2011, and has remained on the USTFCCCA Board of Directors over the past two years. In fact, Sullivan has been a fixture on the Board of Directors since the organization’s restructuring in 2005. Prior to that tenure, Sullivan was the president of Division I Cross Country from 1997-99, in addition to work with a number of different committees.
Sullivan will take over for Ted Bulling of Nebraska Wesleyan, who served as the organization’s president from 2011 to the present. This nomination, however, is an historic one for USTFCCCA, as Sullivan will become the first female to preside over the organization in its current structure.
The USTFCCCA represents over 8,000 coaching members encompassing nearly all NCAA track & field programs in all three divisions and includes members representing the NAIA, junior colleges, as well as a number of state high school coaches associations. The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track & field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as a lobbyist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track & field.
Sullivan, in her 14th year at the helm of the women’s program, and seventh as the Director and Head Coach of men’s and women’s track and field/cross country, has coached the Nittany Lions to unprecedented success during her tenure in Happy Valley. Since arriving in 1999, Sullivan has overseen 138 All-America performances, as well as 78 Big Ten individual champions, and 16 conference-winning relays. Over the years, Sullivan has also led the Nittany Lions to six Big Ten team titles, coaching the Blue and White to a “Triple Crown” effort in 2009-10, which included conference titles in cross country, and indoor, and outdoor track and field.
Sullivan has also coached a pair of “trophy teams” along with way, with the Nittany Lion women finishing fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in both 2008 and 2010.
In 2010, the Nittany Lion women were named the USTFCCCA “Outdoor Scholar Team of the Year,” which is awarded to the highest-finishing team with a cumulative team grade-point average of 3.0 or above. Under Sullivan’s guidance, a grand total of 464 have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in cross country and track and field, while 27 athletes have earned the Big Ten “Distinguished Scholar Athlete” citation (GPA of 3.7 or higher), since the program’s inception in 2009-10. Sullivan has also coached 26 USTFCCCA All-Academic teams in men’s and women’s track and field and cross country, which requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Professionally, Sullivan has been recognized for her accomplishments many times over, receiving a grand total of 25 “Coach of the Year” awards, including her USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year citation during the 2012 fall campaign. The Nittany Lions turned in another sensational season this past fall, highlighted by a victory by the women’s squad at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships – the first in program history. The Nittany Lion women would go on to a 14th-place standing at the NCAA Cross Country Championships – the squad’s fourth-straight NCAA appearance, and it’s third top 14 finish in the last four years.