U-M Cross Country, Distance Coach Warhurst Retires

July 7, 2010

• Warhurst Coaching Bios: Cross Country | Track and Field

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's cross country head coach and men's track and field associate head coach Ron Warhurst announced today (Wednesday, July 7) that he is retiring after mentoring the Wolverine distance runners for 36 years. He has been with both the cross country and track and field programs since 1974.

"I have had a very nice run at Michigan," said Warhurst. "I've coached some great individuals who have become great men and great friends, and I appreciate all they have done for my career."

"Ron Warhurst has coached and mentored hundreds of athletes throughout his 36-year career at Michigan," said Dave Brandon, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at U-M. "He has always been considered one of the top coaches in the country and his contributions to our athletic program over the years have been substantial and most appreciated. We wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement."

Warhust led the Wolverines to consecutive Big Ten Conference championships in his first three years as head coach (1974-76). His teams went on to win additional conference titles in 1980 (tie), 1997 and 1998, and won NCAA District titles in 1997 and 2007 (tie). His 1997 and '98 cross country teams claimed NCAA trophies with fourth-place finishes at the national meet. Twelve of his 36 cross country teams finished among the top 10 at the NCAA Championships with 39 of his runners earning All-America honors along the way. He also coached four Big Ten Cross Country Freshmen of the Year and five Big Ten Cross Country Athletes of the Year.

After serving as U-M's assistant track and field coach for 26 years, Warhurst was hired in 2000 to replace retiring head coach Jack Harvey. In 2008, Warhurst's final year as Michigan's head track and field coach, the Wolverines won the Big Ten outdoor championship, the 31st in U-M's illustrious history. That season resulted in him earning both Big Ten Coach of the Year and Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year. Warhurst served two years as the program's associate head coach (2009-10) before announcing his retirement.

Warhurst has coached five former Wolverines to 10 Olympic berths: 1984 3,000m steeplechase bronze medalist and '92 U.S. team captain Brian Diemer, USA (1984, '88, '92); Brad Barquist, USA (1996); Kevin Sullivan, Canada (2000, '04, '08); 2008 1,500m silver medalist Nick Willis, New Zealand (2004, '08); and Nate Brannen, Canada (2008). At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, three former Wolverines training under Warhurst earned spots in the 1,500-meter semifinals: Willis, who went on to earn the silver medal, Sullivan and Brannen. Warhurst also coached his volunteer assistant coach Tim Broe, a 2004 U.S. Olympian and 5,000-meter finalist in Athens.

Among Warhurst's most accomplished pupils on the track was Kevin Sullivan, a three-time Olympian, two-time Academic All-American and four-time NCAA champion (1995 mile, 1995 1,500-meter run, 1995 distance medley relay, 1998 mile). He also coached 1983 NCAA 3,000-meter steeplechase champion and Olympic bronze medalist Brian Diemer, and John Scherer, a three-time NCAA distance champion in 1988 (10,000m) and '89 (5,000m and 10,000m).

More recently, Warhurst coached his distance runners to six NCAA titles from 2003-05. Brannen was the 2003 and '04 NCAA indoor 800m champion, while Willis claimed the 2005 indoor mile NCAA title and Andrew Ellerton won the 2005 NCAA outdoor 800m title. Michigan also won back-to-back distance medley relay NCAA titles under Warhurst's guidance in 2004 (Brannen, DarNell Talbert, Andrew Ellerton, Willis) and 2005 (Rondell Ruff, Stann Waithe, Ellerton, Brannen).

As a collegiate runner, Warhurst was a member of the 1964 and '65 NCAA championship teams at Western Michigan University. Following his graduation in 1966, he spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Eastern Michigan University. From 1968-70, he served in the United States Marine Corps and was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Navy Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam. Warhurst and his wife, Kallie, have one son, Luke.

Warhurst's U-M Cross Country Coaching Record

YearBig TenNCAA DistrictNCAA National
19962nd 3rd 14th
19981st 2nd 4th

Warhurst's Cross Country Coaching Highlights
• 12 NCAA Championship top-10 teams
• 20 NCAA Regional Championship top 3 teams
• 21 NCAA All-Americans 38 times
• 2-time NCAA Regional Champion (1997, 2007)
• 3-time NCAA Regional Coach of the Year (1997, '98, 2007)
• 7 Big Ten Championship titles (1974, '75, '76, '80, '93, '97, '98)
• 4-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (1990, '93, '97, '98)
• 4 Big Ten Cross Country Freshmen of the Year
• 5 Big Ten Cross Country Athletes of the Year
• 5 Big Ten champions combined for 8 titles

Warhurst's Track & Field Coaching Record
• 10 NCAA champions to 14 individual and relay titles
• 90 All-America honors
• 6 Penn Relays individual champions, 5 Penn Relays relay champions
• 45 Big Ten champions combined for 70 individual titles, plus 5 distance medley relay titles

SeasonBig Ten IndoorNCAA IndoorBig Ten OutdoorNCAA Outdoor

Former U-M Distance Runners

Two-Time Academic All-American / Three-Time Olympian (Canada 2000, '04, '08) / Four-time NCAA Track Champion / 10-Time Track All-American / Four-Time Cross Country All-American

"If there is anyone that has been synonymous with Michigan cross country and track and field it is Ron Warhurst. While there have been many great athletes come through the program one thing has remained consistent, and that is Ron. His easy-going personality hid a great passion and desire for his athletes and teams to perform at the highest level in both the NCAA and post-collegiately. The results of his athletes over the past 36 years are a testament to his place as one of the great coaches in Michigan and NCAA history. Ron has had such an important influence in the lives of his athletes and it is sad that this influence will no longer be there for more generations of Michigan athletes to experience. Ron Warhust is the face of Michigan cross country and track and field, and his replacement will certainly have big shoes to fill and even bigger expectations from 36 years of Michigan cross country alumni. I wish Ron, Kallie and Luke all the best as Ron transitions into this next phase of his extraordinary life."

2008 Olympian (Canada) / Four-time NCAA Track Champion / Three-Time Cross Country All-American / Eight-Time Track All-American / 2003 U-M Male Athlete of the Year

"The success he's had, not only on the college level, but on the international level speaks a lot about him and his ability as a coach. Not only is he a great coach, he's also a great mentor. Ron will always be known as one of the greatest coaches in Michigan track and field history."

2008 1,500m Olympic Silver Medalist / 2004, '08 Olympian (New Zealand) / 2005 NCAA Indoor Mile Champion / 2004 NCAA Distance Medley Relay Champion

"Ron is the sole reason I came to the University of Michigan. The fantastic success he had with past athletes is what brought me out of New Zealand to the United States. During my time at Michigan, Ron taught me how to become a man both on and off the track without which I would have never learned. He didn't put up with any of my whining and kept me to task and for that I am very grateful. Ron will always be my coach and I can't wait for him to drive me to a gold medal in 2012."

1983 Boston Marathon Champion / Three-time Cross Country All-American

"Myself and many others who have been honored to run for Ron, not only owe our success as athletes to him, but also much of our success in life. He challenged us to grow as people, taught us to work hard, and most of all he showed us how to bring passion to what we were doing. His legacy will survive through the lives of those athletes he coached through life."

2009 U-M Cross Country Record Book
2010 U-M Track & Field Record Book

Contact: Bruce Madej (734) 763-4423