Engel tabbed UND head track & field, cross country coach

Engel tabbed UND head track & field, cross country coach

Courtesy of FightingHawks.com

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - University of North Dakota Athletics Director Bill Chaves announced Christine Engel as the new Head Coach of Men's and Women's Track & Field and Cross Country at UND on Thursday.

Bringing 15-years of Division I coaching experience to Grand Forks, Engel has mentored two All-Americans, including a U.S. Olympic Trials Semifinalist within the last five years at Duke and Fresno State.

Engel will complete the track & field season at Fresno State and will assume her duties for the University of North Dakota upon completion of her current position. Working alongside current assistants Drew Jones and Dan McCarty, Engel will fill the final assistant coaching vacancy after arriving on campus.

"We are extremely excited to be naming Christine as our new Track & Field and Cross Country Head Coach," said Chaves. "I want to thank (Associate AD) Kyle Doperalski, who did a tremendous job leading the search. We believe that Christine will be an excellent leader for our program having had extensive experience working at several Division I institutions. Finally, her breadth and depth of coaching experiences will also be an asset for us. We look forward to her taking the reins."

"I am very honored to be named the University of North Dakota's Head Coach for Men's and Women's Track & Field and Cross Country," said Engel. "I am looking forward to using my experiences to build upon the foundation and successes that the current staff of coaches (Kevin) Galbraith, (Dick) Clay, (Drew) Jones and (Dan) McCarty have achieved, along with those of previous coaches (Mike) Grandall and (Joe) Silvers. Their history and successes are now a part of my future.

"UND and Grand Forks have great pride in the university and athletic department," she added. "Everyone I have had the opportunity to speak with, from coaches to administrators, have an enthusiasm and passion that is contagious. I am beyond excited for this new role and to become part of this special community and chase some championships."

"I felt good from my standpoint with all of the candidates I met with, but I think Christine rose to the top and I just felt comfortable with her in this role," said longtime Head Cross Country Coach Dick Clay. "I think the kids will benefit with having her as their coach, and I think she can take where we're at now and build on that."

"I emphasized to Kyle in discussions that the coach should be someone who's going to focus on the team aspect but also someone who's going to treat student-athletes the way they should be treated, and I felt comfortable with Christine's ability in that aspect too," Clay added.

Engel most recently spent three seasons at Fresno State as the Head Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach and Assistant Track Coach, mentoring Annemarie Schwanz to All-America honors at the 2017 NCAA Track & Field Championships in the 1,500-meters. Under Engel's tutelage, Schwanz set program records in the 800-meters and the 1,500-meters while breaking the Mountain West Conference's all-time mark in the 1,500-meters (4:10.93). Her distance runners also set new standards in the indoor mile, indoor 3,000-meters and the indoor 5,000-meters.

In her two seasons at Duke as the Head Women's Distance Coach (2014-16), Engel helped guide Anima Banks to First Team All-America honors during the indoor and outdoor season in the 800-meters. Banks followed up her outstanding Blue Devil tenure as an Olympic Trial participant, advancing to the 800-meter semifinals at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., running a personal-best 2:02.39. In addition to her work with Banks, Engel helped shape the distance medley relay team to All-America status at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Her most extensive program building experience, however, occurred at Elon where she spent six years building the women's cross country programs into perennial Southern Conference Championship contenders. Along with three runner-up finishes at the conference meet, the women's cross country team also finished ninth at the 2013 NCAA Southeast Regional Cross Country Championship, an 21-place improvement from her first season in charge.

On the track side, the men's (non-sponsored) and women's programs set a total of 18 new school records in her time, including SoCON conference champion Tereza Novotna (3,000-meter steeplechase), who was selected to compete for the Czech Republic at the 2014 European Team Championship. As a runner-up in 2013, Novotna was also part of a 1-2-3 podium sweep in the steeplechase.

Distance programs under Engel's tutelage have also achieved in the classroom as Schwanz earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, as well as USTFCCCA All-Academic Team accolades. Her distance group collected five Academic All-ACC honors in her two years at Duke while Banks was named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic team as well.

Engel cut her teeth at the University of San Francisco as an Assistant Cross Country and Track Coach (2004-07), helping the Dons men's and women's programs to runner-up finishes at the West Coast Conference Championships. She then spent a season at Columbia, helping qualify five Lions' runners for the NCAA East Regional Championship in four separate events, as well as guiding two all-region and one All-American in cross country.

The Flanders, N.J., product graduated from Clemson University, where she was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and a member of the 1995 ACC Championship distance medley relay team and 1993 NCAA Cross Country Championship qualifying teams.

A standout prep runner, Engel was the New Jersey's Gatorade Athlete of the Year, as well as the No. 2 ranked miler in the U.S., earning consensus All-America accolades. She was selected as one New Jersey's Track & Field Athletes of the Decade.

Engel succeeds Kevin Galbraith who took over the program in 2011 and Dick Clay who will be finishing his 34th season at UND this year.