Nov. 18, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame women's cross country head coach Tim Connelly has been named the 2009 Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Wednesday.
In his 22nd season at Notre Dame, Connelly guided the 24th-ranked Irish women to their first regional crown since 2003 and their second-straight appearance at the NCAA Championships.
"It's an honor to earn this award, but it's just a reflection of the hard work of our student-athletes and their efforts at the regional meet," Connelly said. "They competed hard and did a great job. We're looking forward to the NCAA Championships, and we're hoping to run even better there."
Since taking over the Irish women's cross country program during its infancy in 1988, Connelly has helped Notre Dame reach unprecedented heights, finishing among the top 10 at the NCAA Championship four of the past seven seasons. Notre Dame also has garnered a trip to the NCAA awards podium twice, finishing in a program-best third place in 2002, followed by a fourth-place showing in 2004.
The Irish women also have won three BIG EAST Conference titles and placed either first or second at six of the past nine Great Lakes Regional meets. Notre Dame harriers have collected 14 All-America honors and 27 all-BIG EAST cross country citations since the Irish joined the conference in 1995-96.
This season, Irish runners earned three all-region honors and one all-BIG EAST accolade. Senior Lindsey Ferguson garnered all-region and all-BIG EAST recognition, while sophomore Rachel Velarde and freshman Jessica Rydberg were all-region selections.
The Irish will compete at the NCAA Championships Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind.