Courtesy of Amherst College Sports
AMHERST, Mass. – Amherst College Athletics Director Suzanne Coffey has announced the hiring of Cassie Funke-Harris as head coach of the Lord Jeffs’ women’s cross country and track and field programs.
"I am absolutely delighted that Cassie will be joining our department," said Coffey. "Her passion for the development of students—both on a personal level and within the community—was extremely appealing and should make for a natural transition. There is no doubt in my mind that Cassie will have an immediate impact on our already successful cross country and track and field programs."
Funke-Harris has spent the last six years as an assistant cross country and track and field coach at her alma mater, Carleton College. She was a four-year letter-winner for the Knights, notably earning an All-America selection during the 2004 cross country season before graduating with honors in 2005.
"I’d like to thank Director Coffey and all of the members of the search committee," Funke-Harris said. "I have always had tremendous respect for Amherst College, and to be a part of the Athletics department is exciting for me. It’s the type of school and the type of program at which I’ve always envisioned myself."
During her coaching tenure at Carleton, Funke-Harris helped the women’s cross country team capture a pair of MIAC titles and three NCAA Championship berths. She was instrumental in producing 10 all-conference honorees, 13 all-region performers and a pair of All-America selections.
Also working with the women’s track and field program, Funke-Harris helped guide Carleton student-athletes to 19 individual MIAC titles, 34 all-conference selections, 19 NCAA provisional qualifying marks and nine All-America performances.The Knights’ cross country and track and field teams have garnered 21 USTFCCCA All-Academic Awards in the last six years, as well as a CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team honoree.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Carleton in 2005, Funke-Harris earned her master’s in kinesiology and exercise physiology from the University of Texas-Austin in 2008. She holds a USATF Level I Coaching Certification, having also participated in the National Distance Running Summit in Grinnell, Iowa in 2011.
"My desire to be a head coach dates back to my experience as a student-athlete at Carleton," said Funke-Harris. "Donna and Dave Ricks have taught me a lot about the day-to-day responsibilities of being a coach, as well as what it means to be a mentor. I’m exceptionally thankful for everything the Carleton coaching staff and Athletic department have done for me."
Funke-Harris inherits a cross country program that returns six of the seven runners who competed at the 2011 NCAA Championship. Amherst has recorded four top-10 team finishes at Nationals, including a runner-up performance in 2006 and the program’s first-ever NCAA championship in 2007. The women’s track and field program has produced five indoor and eight outdoor individual national champions, most recently Keri Lambert ’13, who won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 national outdoor meet.
"I’m excited for the upcoming season and the goals we’ll have as a team," said Funke-Harris. "Amherst’s programs return a number of student-athletes who have had success at the national level; I'll be inheriting a program with a rich history, and I look forward to building on that success. You couldn’t ask for better local competition than you see in the NESCAC, and my experience at Carleton has prepared me to be part of a strong program."
Funke-Harris will replace John Adamson, who served as the women’s cross country and track and field interim head coach during the 2011-12 academic year. "We are indebted to Coach Adamson for everything he did this past year," Coffey said. "He did a superb job leading our programs and laying the groundwork for our first permanent head coach of women's cross country and track & field."