June 22, 2004

Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame track and cross country coach Joe Piane has signed a contract extension to continue heading up those programs for the Irish athletic program.

For more than a quarter of a century, Piane has been a fixture in Irish cross country and track and field circles. Now in his 29th season in 2003-04, he has the longest stint of any Irish coach currently on staff and has established his own standards in rewriting the Notre Dame record books.

During Piane’s tenure, his cross country runners have received All-America recognition on 19 different occasions, including four-time All-American Mike McWilliams who starred for Piane from 1990-93 and two-time honorees Ryan Shay, Luke Watson and Todd Mobley. His track and field male athletes have been awarded All-America status 45 times, a ratio of more than one All-American for every year he has coached at Notre Dame. Piane’s cross country squads also have finished in the top 10 at the NCAAs 10 times in the last 16 years.

Piane has coached his men’s track teams to 55 individual BIG EAST first-place finishes in nine years and the women have finished first 25 times as individuals. On the team accomplishment side, the Irish men have won five BIG EAST team titles (including sweeping the indoor and outdoor in 2003 and then reclaiming the outdoor crown in ’04) and the women won their first team title at the indoor meet in 2002.

A 1969 graduate of Loras College, Piane began his career at Notre Dame as an assistant in 1974 before becoming head coach in 1975. He was named the NCAA Division I Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1987 and 2001, won regional coach-of-the-year honors five times and has helped his fellow track and field coaches earn BIG EAST staff of the year honors five times since 1999.