New USTFCCCA Board of Directors Officers Elected at Convention
PHOENIX – The members of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) voted for a new slate of officers to sit on the board of directors and lead the organization through the next two academic years, beginning summer 2015.
The membership elected Damon Martin of Adams State as its new president, following the two-year term of Beth Alford-Sullivan. Additionally, Larry Cole of Rose-Hulman was re-elected as treasurer, Sandy Ford-Centonze of Dartmouth was elected as secretary, and John Foss of Indiana Wesleyan was elected as at-large member. The quartet was the same slate recommended by the current board of directors.
Martin is a titan of American coaching–the award for Division II men’s Program of the Year is literally named after him. His career got started when the legendary Dr. Joe Vigil needed to be away from campus to coach at the 1988 Seoul Olympics; that year, Martin was named the interim men’s cross country coach and then-NAIA Adams State won their sixth straight national title. (The Grizzlies now compete in NCAA Division II)
The next year, 1989, Martin was named the head women’s cross country and track & field coach. It didn’t take much time for his to prove his bona fides as a mentor of distance runners: his women won cross country nationals every year from 1991 to 1999.
In 1996, he took over the men’s program. After not qualifying for nationals in 1995, they won the meet under Martin in 1998.
Martin and the Grizzlies haven’t looked back since. He’s been named National Coach of the Year 30 times, and his teams have won 27 titles–most recently, a men’s cross country championship less than two weeks ago. His teams have won national titles for both genders in all three sports.
Foss’s election to the at-large position marks the historic transition of the NAIA coaching body into the USTFCCCA. He’s been the head men’s and women’s cross country and track & field coach at Indiana Wesleyan for 27 years, and has previously served as the president of the NAIA coaches association.
He’s coached over 70 athletes to All-American status and 15 teams to conference championships. Indiana Wesleyan and Foss also hosted the NAIA outdoor national championship from 2010 to 2013.
Cole has been a Division III head coach for 26 years, spending the last 12 at Rose-Hulman. He’s averaged more than two All-Americans a year in those three decades.
This will be a second straight two-year term as treasurer for Cole, who’s known as an expert meet host. He’s bid for and successfully hosted indoor and cross country national meets in multiple venues.
According to USTFCCCA archives, Ford-Centonze is the first coach from an Ivy League school to be elected to an office on the Board. She’s been the head women’s track & field coach at Dartmouth for the last 23 years.
2013-14 was one the most successful of those years: the Big Green finished 7th at NCAA indoors in March, the highest ever for an Ivy League team of either gender.