NEW ORLEANS, La. - For the second consecutive year, Craig McPhail, the women's cross country coach at Lees-McRae College has been named Women's Southeast Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year by the United States Cross Country Coaches and Track and Field Coaches Association.
The announcement comes after the Bobcats won their second consecutive regional championship this past Saturday at Wingate University in the NCAA DII Southeast Regionals. Lees-McRae won the meet with 85 points outdistancing second place by 25 points enroute to their trip to the National Championships hosted by Slippery Rock University November 22nd.
"We are coming together and running really well right now," said McPhail. "I am thankful for this group of young women and how hard they have worked. Saturday was a great tribute to them and this award is just an extension of their performance."
For McPhail, this is his third Regional Coach of the Year award as his 2001 women's team also won regionals and went to Slippery Rock.
The women's cross country team has had quite a successful run with McPhail at the helm as they have won eight of the last 11 conference championships for cross country and three of the past eight regional championships. He has captured 11 Conference Coach of the Year honors with both his men's and women's team's performances. This marks the fourth women's team he has taken to the National Championships.
Over 70 student-athletes have garnered All-Conference honors since McPhail took over the program in 1998, with 31 student-athletes earning NCAA All-Southeast honors. The women's cross country team has also been Academic All-Americans the past 10 years.
"We have had a great run, with a lot of great young women coming to be a part of what we have here at Lees-McRae," McPhail said. "It has been fun watching them grow up, develop and enter the real world as successful human beings because of their time on the team here in Banner Elk."
Lees-McRae will run at Cooper's Lake Campground Saturday, November 22 at 1:15 p.m. in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania for the NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships.