Head Coach - Men's Cross Country | Assistant Coach (Track) - Distance
Sean Carlson joined the Notre Dame cross country and track & field staff in November 2011. Now entering his ninth season with the Irish. Carlson is the head men’s cross country coach and assistant track coach responsible for the men’s distance and middle distance runners on the track.
During his tenure with the Irish, Carlson has directly coached Notre Dame student-athletes to two NCAA Championships, eight school records, 13 NCAA All-Americans, 25 athletes on Notre Dame’s top-10 lists, four ACC championship and two USA U20 champions. The Irish have been in the top 30 at NCAA championships on 16 different occasions with Carlson on the staff.
During the 2019 track season Carlson coached two NCAA champions in the men’s distance medley relay and the men’s 1500 meters. The DMR broke the school record, had the leading time in the country, and second-fastest time in NCAA history at 9:26.1. At the ACC Championships, he coached Yared Nuguse to the ACC men’s mile title in a time of 3:57. At the same ACC meet the DMR squad also captured the conference title. Following the collegiate season, Carlson guided freshman Danny Kilrea to a USA U20 Championship in the 10,000 meters, as well as the 10K title at the 2019 Pan Am Games.
In the fall of 2018 Carlson led the men’s cross country team to the programs first ACC Championship, with four All-ACC honorees and five runners in the top 22. The team went on to place 14th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships with Danny Kilrea leading the way as an All-American.
In 2017-18, the men’s DMR broke the previous school record with a time of 9:28. The DMR was runner-up at the NCAA Indoor Championships, with Yared Nuguse running a 3:56 mile split in the race. The squad also placed second at the ACC Championships and the Penn Relay Championship of America. Nuguse later became the U.S. Junior Champion in the 1,500 meters and qualified for the World Junior Championships. Additionally, senior Jacob Dumford set the school record in the 1,000 meters (2:21) and ran a flat 4:00.00 mile at the Penn Relays.
Following the success of the 2017-18 season, Carlson signed the No. 1 men’s cross country class, which included Footlocker National Champion in Dylan Jacobs.
In 2016-17, the men’s distance and middle distance squad sent five student-athletes to NCAA Outdoor Track and Field East Regionals, a program-best under Carlson. Freshman Ryan Schweizer highlighted his season by placing third at the U.S. Junior Championships in the 1,500.
Carlson has also coached standouts from the women’s distance program, including Alexa Aragon and Jessica Harris. A four-time All-American, Aragon is Notre Dame’s record-holder in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:54.37), with that performance coinciding with an eighth-place finish and All-America honors at the 2014 NCAA Championships. Harris owns three school records (600 meters, 800 meters and 1,000 meters).
Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Carlson was a cross country and track coach at Saint Charles North High School in Saint Charles, Illinois, helping to coach the men’s distance runners.
A team captain and All-American at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, from 2006-10, Carlson helped the cross country squad capture a Division III national championship in 2009 after a runner-up finish in 2008. In 2009, he won the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin individual cross country championship. In 2010, the track and field squad claimed both the NCAA Division III indoor and outdoor crowns. Upon graduation, Carlson worked as a volunteer assistant track coach for seven months at his alma mater before moving on to Saint Charles North and, ultimately, Notre Dame.