Track/cross country coach signs three-year contract

June 14, 2011 | News, UToday
By Paul Helgren

UT Coach Kevin Hadsell talked to his team.

UT Coach Kevin Hadsell talked to his team.

Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country Coach Kevin Hadsell has signed a new three-year contract that will extend through June 30, 2014, UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced yesterday.

“Kevin is one of the most respected track and cross country coaches in the country,” O’Brien said. “He has an outstanding history of achievement, both in the Mid-American Conference and on a national level. His student-athletes also have been consistently outstanding in the classroom and in the Toledo community. We are pleased that Kevin will continue to lead our program for a long time to come.”

Hadsell will be entering his 14th season as the men’s and women’s cross country coach and ninth season as the head coach of the women’s track & field program for the Rockets this fall. His women’s cross country teams have won three MAC championships (2001, 2002 and 2010), and he earned MAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year each of those three years.

“I’m very excited about the future of this program,” Hadsell said. “Toledo is my home, and I love this institution and this program. I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish. However, I know there is still more potential and this new contract just adds more stability to what we are doing.

“We have such a strong family atmosphere in our program, and this new contract only helps to ensure the stability of the program as we are recruiting great student-athletes from all over the country.”

Hadsell began his career at UT in 1998 as the head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country team and as an assistant coach with the women’s track program. He inherited a cross country program that perennially had been at the bottom of the MAC and NCAA Division I regional and national rankings. Before Hadsell’s arrival, the women’s program had finished last in the MAC 13 of 18 years, and the men’s program had never finished in the top half of the conference in more than 50 years of competition.

In just a short time, however, Hadsell has turned the women’s program into one of the top distance programs in the country and made great strides in the men’s program.

Hadsell’s athletes have won five MAC Runner of the Year awards in cross country, as well as five MAC Athletes of the Year in track and field — with junior Ari Fisher winning both honors in 2009 and Runner of the Year in the 2010 cross country season. Between cross country and track, Hadsell has coached 27 MAC champions and 23 MAC runner-up finishers.

Hadsell is the only women’s coach in MAC history to have an NCAA Regional Cross Country Champion and NCAA Regional Cross Country Athlete of the Year (Briana Shook, 2002). Since 1999, the Rockets have had 15 NCAA All-Region selections, twice as many as any other MAC school over that same period. Additionally, the Rockets have sent seven individuals to the NCAA Championships since 2000, more than the rest of the Mid-American Conference combined has sent over the same period. This fall, the team earned its first bid to the NCAA Championships in program history, finishing 28th and featuring their second All-American in Fisher (26th place).

At the NCAA Regional Track and Field level, two Toledo women have won NCAA Regional titles a total of three times, with Shook winning the 3000-meter steeplechase in 2002 and 2004, and Ebba Stenbeck winning the regional title in that same event in 2007. In 2001-02, the Rockets sent Shook to the NCAA Cross Country Championships, and she also was named an All-American in the spring in the NCAA Championships in the 3000-meter steeplechase.

Hadsell has coached athletes who own the all-time MAC records in the triple jump (April Williams; 43-11.75), 5000-meters (Fisher 16:04), 3000-meters (Shook; 9:23) and 3000-meter steeplechase (Shook; 9:29). In addition, Hadsell has coached five different women to Top-25 World Rankings: Tuula Laitinen, Shook, Stenbeck, Everlyne Lagat and Fisher.

Hadsell, who lives in Toledo, has a son, Brent (16), and is the adoptive parent of Alexandra (12), Cassandra (10) and Nickolas (8).

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