Nov. 18, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame track and cross country coach Joe Piane has been named the National Cross Country Coach of the Year for 2001 by the United States Track and Field Coaches Association.
The award was announced Saturday night in Greenville, S.C., at a banquet preceding the 2001 NCAA Cross Country Championships to be run Monday at Furman.
Piane's 2001 Irish men's squad currently is ranked fifth nationally coming off victories at both the BIG EAST Championships and the NCAA Great Lakes Region meet Nov. 10 at Indiana State.
Piane last weekend was named the 2001 MONDO Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year. He has helped the Irish to six meet titles in 2001, including the BIG EAST and the Great Lakes Regional championships. 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 competes in the 2001 NCAA Championship in Greenville, S.C., on Monday. The Irish have finished in the 15 at the final meet in eight out of the last nine years.