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Bowman Takes Over Cornell's Women's Track & Field Program

Cornell's Rich Bowman
Cornell's Rich Bowman

Courtesy of Cornell Athletic Commmunications

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Rich Bowman, entering his 31st year with the Cornell track and field program as assistant and associate head coach, has been named the second Alan B. '53 and Elizabeth Heekin Harris Women's Track & Field and Cross Country Coach, it was announced today by Andy Noel, the Meakem•Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education. Lou Duesing, who served as head coach for the Big Red over the last 21 seasons, will become a part-time assistant coach as he steps back from full-time coaching. Longtime assistant coach Artie Smith '96 was also promoted to full-time on the staff and will have the primary responsibility for coaching the cross country team and distance runners after splitting time working with the track program and as assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences the past four years.

Bowman, who works primarily with the sprint-hurdlers, relays and multi-event athletes has coached Cornell athletes to 144 Heptagonal Championships and 45 current school records during his tenure in Ithaca. The Big Red has claimed 35 Ivy League track and field team championships with Bowman on the coaching staff.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to direct the Big Red Women's track and field and cross country programs. Our goals, as in past years, are to insure competitive opportunities for the members of the women's team and provide for their welfare in a highly-charged academic environment. Past teams have nurtured a long tradition of both academic and athletic excellence and have repeatedly earned honors for their work in the classroom while securing the top Division I status in the Northeast region. My staff and I are thrilled about what lies ahead for the future of Big Red women's track and field and cross country."

Three athletes that Bowman has coached at Cornell – Darren Roach '87, Lauren Kulik '85 and Susie (Curtis) Schneider '91 – have been added to the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame. Among  other athletes he has coached are Olympian Curt Hampstead '86 (Guyana) and three women MVP's at the Heptagonals - Katy Jay, Jeomi Maduka and Melissa Hewitt.

Before coming to Cornell, Bowman coached for three years at the University of Kansas where he helped the Jayhawks to three consecutive conference championships. Upon his arrival at Cornell, he helped the men's team to the 1985 Heptagonal Championship, coaching three jump champions as Cornell snapped a six-year title drought. More recently, he has coached four of the last nine Cornell Charles H. Moore Award recipients for the top senior female student-athlete (Katy Jay '03, Hannah Garrity '04, Jamie Greubel '06 and Jeomi Maduka '09).

Bowman earned his bachelor of science degree and a master's degree in physical education from Eastern Illinois, the latter coming in 1975. He has coached at the USA Track and Field Elite Olympic Camp and is both Level I and Level II certified by USA Track and Field and is currently working toward his Level III certification. Bowman has also coached on seven international track and field tours in Europe with the Cornell program.

"It was an honor and a privilege to serve as the George E. Heekin Coach of Track for nine years, and then as the Alan B. and Elizabeth Heekin-Harris Coach of Women's Track since 1999," Duesing said. "With this administrative restructuring of the staff, there will be little that changes for the student-athletes since the person who has been coaching them will continue to do so. Andy Noel and the athletic administration have been very generous in allowing for this restructuring with the long term continued success of the program as a primary focus, and for that I am very grateful. Rich Bowman and Artie Smith have been tremendously loyal to Cornell and Cornell Track, and have been outstanding coaches and mentors to so many Big Red athletes through their years here. I am very fortunate to be able to continue to do what I have always loved doing, and that is coaching. I'm not ready to retire, and I won't be for a while yet. I am excited about this new chapter in Cornell Track, and am looking forward to the future."

Duesing's 21 years at the helm saw the Big Red women's programs reach extraordinary heights, winning more Heptagonal Championships than any other team in the league, 25 totals overall. In cross country, depth and consistent improvement meant four championships and, also unprecedented in the league, three consecutive top four finishes at the NCAA cross country championships. On the track, the teams have been deep in many events as well as competitive in virtually every event contested at the league championships.

Duesing has coached 57 All-Americans in cross country and track and field (44 at Cornell), 207 Heptagonal Champions, three Penn Relays Champions, one NCAA Champion and has had five individuals place in the top 10 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Five of Duesing's student-athletes have won NCAA postgraduate scholarships, six have earned Phi Beta Kappa recognition and 10 have been named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, most recently, Emily Bartlett '09. Ginny Ryan '95 was a finalist for the Walter Byers Scholarship, was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, earned an NCAA postgraduate scholarship and earned a full scholarship to medical school.

“The Cornell cross country and track program has been a huge part of my life since my freshman year nearly 20 years ago," Smith said. "Lou Duesing was my coach as an undergraduate and Rich Bowman was instrumental in encouraging me to be part of the Cornell track team during my search process all of those years ago and both have been wonderful mentors ever since. To have the opportunity to help the program in a full-time role is something I'm very excited about and it means a lot to me that I'll be able to have that role while continuing to work closely with both of them. I learned a great deal the past few years as an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, so I hope that I'll be able to continue to provide our student-athletes with good academic counsel and perspective even as I work with them on the track. It is a dream come true to now be able to focus all of my attention on a program I love and to work with a great group of people and I'm looking forward to getting started. After all, we have a rich tradition of success here in women's cross country and track and the future looks very promising.“

Smith, who works with the cross country team and the distance runners in track, has spent 12 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, while also finishing his Ph.D. in African American history from Duke and working as an assistant dean in Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences during that time. During his tenure with the Big Red, he has helped guide the women's cross country team to an NCAA appearance and four ECAC championships, and the women's track and field team to 15 of the past 20 Heptagonal titles. In addition, six female harriers have qualified individually for the NCAA Cross Country Championships and 19 women have competed at the NCAA Track and Field Championships. In just the past seven years in the distance events alone, the Cornell women have had three different NCAA competitors in the 5,000 and two (on three occasions) in the 3000 steeplechase. In this same time-span in the 3K, 5K, 10K and 3K steeplechase, the Cornell women have earned four individual Heps titles, three ECAC individual titles, two individual Penn Relays championships, three ECAC individual runner-up finishes in track, and a pair of Penn Relays runner-up medals while setting several school records.