Al Carius, with over 40 seasons as the men’s track and cross country coach at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, has led the Cardinals to 17 NCAA Division III titles in cross country and five national championships in track & field.
Carius cites the influence of fellow USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Ted Haydon, the social worker-turned-track coach who ran the University of Chicago Track Club. After winning a pair of Big Ten cross country titles and three Big Ten track & field titles as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Carius trained under Haydon and became one of the nation’s top steeplechasers in the late 1960s. After two years as an assistant, Carius accepted the position at North Central.
The rest, as they say, is history. In cross country, Carius has coached North Central to 12 national championships and 12 runner-up finishes along with 32 straight College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) championships.
North Central also holds five NCAA Division III Track & field national championships (four outdoor, one indoor) and has won 14 straight CCIW championships.
Carius and his staff have produced 85 All Americans and seven individual national champions in cross country and over 300 All Americans and 36 national champions in track & field. He has been honored as the NCAA Division III Cross Country Coach of the Year five times (1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, and 1999) and is also a member of the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame, the North Central College Athletics Hall of Fame, and the Drake Relays Hall of Fame. He was also honored as the Cross Country Coach of the Century and ranks in the top 10 of all divisions of all NCAA sports in number of national championships (17).
In October 2006, Carius became an honorary alumnus of North Central.