WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University Athletics Department is proud to announce Ben Harden as its men’s and women’s cross country head coach as announced by Director of Athletics Michael Weinstock.
“Ben is an excellent role model and teacher for our runners here at Gallaudet University. He brings a lot of energy and excitement to the cross country program,” said Weinstock. “We look forward to cheering on the Bison cross country teams this fall as they continue to build off the foundation made over the course of the past few seasons.”
Harden, 26, takes over the cross country program from Andy Brinks who stepped down this summer after leading the program for two seasons. Harden served as an assistant coach under Brinks in 2009 and was also an assistant coach to the Gallaudet men’s and women’s track and field program last spring. Mikaela Gardner will serve as an assistant coach to Harden this fall.
“Our first goal is to expand both teams [adding more runners] while also performing well in the classroom,” said Harden. “I learned from Coach Brinks that running could be applied to your life. Hard work, dedication along with physical and mental toughness and health are a few concepts he emphasized. I hope to continue that approach this season and beyond. There is great potential for this cross country program.”
Harden inherits a women’s cross country program that finished fourth overall at the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championships led by all-conference runner Rose Ritz (Wauwatosa, Wis.). Ritz returns for her senior season to anchor the Bison women’s team. The men’s team will look to add more runners in 2010 to help the program earn team points at meets. This fall is the first for Gallaudet in its new conference the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC). The cross country program dates back several decades and was a member of the CAC from 1991-2002 and then reformed in 2008.
Harden grew-up in Omaha, Neb., and attended Millard South High School and graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2006 where he majored in Biopsychology. He is currently a graduate student at Gallaudet in the audiology program where he was named the Graduate Student Association Student of the Month in April 2009. Harden is an avid runner himself as he has competed and finished various marathons and 50-mile runs, most recently the Northface Gortex-50 Endurance Challenge on September 19, 2009. Harden resides in Washington, D.C.
The 2010 cross country season starts for Gallaudet on Saturday, September 4, in Salisbury, Md., as the Bison run in the Sea Gull Opener at 9:45 a.m.