After eight years as the coach of Ohio State’s women’s track and field and cross country teams, Karen Dennis has a new title.
She was named the director of track and field and cross country by the university, according to a Tuesday press release. The position encompasses both the men’s and women’s programs.
Dennis led the women’s track team to its first Big Ten championships for both indoor and outdoor competitions in 2011. She has coached 19 first team All-Americans, three Big Ten champions and she has twice coached a national champion. Dennis was also named conference Coach of the Year six times and one of her runners was named the Big Ten freshman of the year.
“We are very excited to announce Karen as the director of our newly-combined programs,” said T.J. Shelton, associate athletics director for sport administration, in the release. “The men’s and women’s programs have outstanding tradition and combining the programs will not only bring stability, but provide opportunity to grow and strengthen both programs under Karen’s leadership.”
In the release, Dennis said she is thankful for the opportunity and looks forward to continuing to grow the program.
“Ten years ago I came to The Ohio State University as an assistant in a combined program,” she said. Since that time I continue to appreciate the support and confidence afforded me by administrators Gene Smith, Miechelle Willis and T.J. Shelton. I’d like to thank them all for this wonderful opportunity.”
The details of Dennis’ new contract are still being finalized by the university, according to an OSU spokesman.
During the 2013 to 2014 season, Dennis’ team garnered first team All-American honors in the 4×100-meter relay and produced a trio of Big Ten championships.
Dennis has also spent time as an assistant coach for sprints and hurdles with the men’s and women’s programs. She was also the coach of the United States women’s national track and field team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
She moved to OSU after a decade heading the women’s track and field team at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she experienced similar success to her time with the Buckeyes. Dennis also spent 15 years coaching at Michigan State, where she attended college.
The Buckeyes concluded their 2014 season with a fifth-place finish in the 4×100-meter relay at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships June 14.