Bulldog distance coach Patrick Cunniff led Georgia to the 2013 NCAA South Regional title in his second season.
Nov. 19, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia distance coach Patrick Cunniff has been named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) South Region Men’s Coach of the Year, according to an announcement by the USTFCCCA on Tuesday.
Cunniff, who is in his second year directing Georgia’s distance program, led the Bulldogs to a one-point victory over Florida to capture the NCAA South Regional title over the weekend in Tuscaloosa and clinch a spot at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. This marked Georgia’s second Regional team title and first since 2003.
“It is an honor to receive this award,” said Cunniff. “It is a great reflection on the quality of our program and a testament to how hard our men compete. I want to thank Wayne Norton, our head coach and Greg McGarity, our director of athletics, for the opportunity to come back to my alma mater and work with these outstanding student-athletes. Ultimately, it is those student-athletes who win this award for you and we have an awesome group of kids.”
Cunniff had four All-Region performers, including a trio of seniors in Luke Baker, Brandon Lord and Charlie Sparks who finished in the top 10. Following the fourth scorer Zack Sims coming across the finish line, Georgia’s fifth and final scorer Brendan Hoban held off a Florida runner to take 31st place and clinch the team win by a second.
“Our three seniors have led this team, both by example every day in training and by performing when it counts, with all three of them finishing in the top 10 at Regionals. All our other guys buy into that ethic as well, bleed black and red and take huge pride like me in representing the University of Georgia. Finally, thanks to all the families, alumni and supporters who have cheered for and encouraged this team, especially my wife Katie and daughter Casidy. This award really belongs to them. Go Dawgs!”
With the victory at Regionals, the Georgia men are advancing to their third consecutive NCAA Championships. Last season, the Bulldogs were the runner-ups at the South Regional before placing a program-best 19th at NCAAs.
This marks the first award of this kind for the Bulldog cross country program since former distance coach Dave Hartman received the honor as the South Region Women’s Coach of the Year in 2006. Hartman also led the Lady Bulldogs to a region title that year.
The Bulldogs compete at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on November 23 at noon. Full results and a recap from the meet will be at georgiadogs.com.