Dec. 1, 1999
TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State cross country coach Walt Drenth was named Pac-10 Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year in a vote of his peers, commissioner Tom Hansen announced today. In his fourth year at the helm of ASU's cross country program, Drenth has elevated the Sun Devils from a perennial basement dweller to a conference and national contender. In 1999, ASU's women registered the best conference (2nd), regional (3rd) and national finish (12th) in school history.
"It is an honor that our entire program can be proud of," said Drenth. "The progress we've made is the result of a collective effort made by our administration, coaching staff and, most importantly, our student-athletes."
It is the eighth time in Drenth's 15-year head coaching career that he has been named a conference coach of the year, but he is the first ASU head coach to earn the Pac-10 honor. He was previously named the Colonial Athletic Association five times in six seasons at William & Mary and Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year twice in five years at Central Michigan.
Prior to Drenth's arrival in 1996, Arizona State's women had never made a team appearance at Nationals, never been ranked, never had an All-American, finished higher than seventh at the Pac-10 Championships only three times and had not finished higher than sixth at Regionals since 1986. ASU has made back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances in 1998-99, was ranked for the first time in 1998 and climbed as high as third in 1999, has had two All-Americans in the last two years (Priscilla Hein and Kelly MacDonald), finished a school record third at Regionals this year, matched a school record with a fourth place Pac-10 finish in 1998 and broke that record with a second place showing this year.
ASU broke school records for individual finishes at the Pac-10 Championships, Regionals and nationals this year, as Lisa Aguilera finished fourth at Pac-10s, Kelly MacDonald finished fourth at Regionals and MacDonald finished 36th at nationals.
Drenth also heads the ASU men's program which broke or matched school records this year with a fourth-place finish at Pac-10s, a third-place finish at Regionals and a 14th-place in the school's first appearance at Nationals.