Led by Joe Piane, the dean of Notre Dame head coaches, the Fighting Irish cross country and track & field teams won nearly one-quarter of all possible BIG EAST titles (26 of 108) during a dominant 18-year run in that conference.

Irish Cross Country/Track & Field Finish In Top 15 For John McDonnell Program of the Year Award

June 12, 2013

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s cross country and track & field teams put a bow on their impressive 2012-13 season Tuesday when the Irish learned that they each placed in the top 15 for the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) John McDonnell Program of the Year Award.

The women’ s squad finished 12th with 93.5 points in the final standings while the men’s team placed 14th with 116.5 points. The University of Oregon women’s program won the award for the fifth consecutive year and the University of Arkansas took the top spot on the men’s side.

It’s the second time both Fighting Irish squads have finished in the top 20 in the five years it have been offered. During its inaugural year in 2008-09, the men’s squad placed 15th (131 points) and the women’s team finished 16th (115 points).

Following the women’s 15th place finish and the men’s 28th place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, both teams collectively tallied a total of 23 All-America accolades during the indoor and outdoor track & field seasons.

During the track seasons, the women’s team placed 35th at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and recorded a 39th place team finish at the outdoor meet. The men’s squad achieved a 32nd place team finish during the indoor national championship meet and 49th place finish at the outdoor meet.

Both the men’s cross country team and track & field programs are led under the guidance of head coach Joe Piane, who completed his 38th campaign with the Irish following the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. Additionally, Tim Connelly, currently in his 25th year with the Fighting Irish, serves as the head women’s cross country coach and as the assistant coach for women’s distance during the track season.

Furthermore, associate head coach for track & field Alan Turner (third season) was tabbed the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Women’s Associate Coach of the Year during the indoor season and was recognized for the same honor during the outdoor season for both the men’s and women’s teams. Turner is the only assistant coach in the nation this season to receive both the men’s and women’s regional assistant coach of the year award among the nine regions.

Assistant coaches Adam Beltran (throws), Sean Carlson (recruiting), and Jim Garnham (field events) have also contributed to the success of the program.

The USTFCCCA Program of the Year Award is awarded annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs in each of the NCAA’s three divisions and for each gender. The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year – spanning the cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field seasons – based on the institution’s finish at the NCAA Championships.

In order to be eligible for the award teams must qualify for each of the NCAA Championships. Scoring is based on the team’s finish at each NCAA Championship in cross country, indoor track & field (i.e. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2points, 31 = 31 points) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award recipient. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.

The John McDonnell Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Arkansas head coach John McDonnell. McDonnell’s Arkansas teams won a combined 40 National Championships and finished in the top ten in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field in 24 of his 36 seasons in Fayetteville. Five of his teams won the NCAA Triple Crown.