Nov. 12, 2001
The United States Track and Field Coaches Association has named University of Notre Dame men’s cross country coach Joe Piane as the 2001 MONDO Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year. He is now eligible to be considered for the NCAA Cross Country Division I Coach of the Year Award, which will be given after the championship meet on Nov. 19.
“This is a very special honor because it is a vote by my peers,” Piane says.
“It is a real thrill when your colleagues think that you have done a good job.”
Piane has helped the Irish to six meet titles in 2001, including the BIG EAST Championship and the Great Lakes Regional Championship in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 10. The Irish have been ranked fifth in the MONDO Men’s Cross Country Top 25 for most of the fall, marking the highest position the team has ever been ranked during the regular season.
The longest tenured coach at Notre Dame with 26 full seasons behind him, Piane has developed one of the most talented and deep cross country rosters in the nation this season. The Irish earned team titles at the Valparaiso Invitational and Central Collegiate Championships with its “B” team, and defeated two ranked teams en route to the 2001 BIG EAST Championship. Piane and volunteer assistant coach Matt Althoff earned the BIG EAST Cross Country Staff of the Year award after the conference meet.
Most recently, Notre Dame took first place at the Great Lakes Regional Championship, finishing ahead of fourth-ranked Wisconsin and placing four runners among the top 25 finishers in the race.
Piane has now earned five regional cross country coach of the year awards including this season’s honor and was named the NCAA Division I Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1987.
Piane’s team will compete in the 2001 NCAA Championship in Greenville, SC, on Monday, Nov. 19. The Irish have finished in the top 15 at the final meet in eight out of the last nine years.