BY BAILEE COFER
Fall is upon us on Drake’s campus. The leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground, the wind is cooling off and autumn breezes are wafting in and the squirrels are burying their stashes of winter nuts. With all the changing weather, the athletic department is experiencing some significant changes, too.
The track and field program has a brand new coaching staff for this school year. Former head coach Natasha Brown left in the summer of 2016 for the University of Missouri. In her absence, former head cross country coach Dan Hostager (now assistant director of Drake Relays) and hurdles coach LaRon Bennett, along with distance coach Jacob Kaemmer, served as the coaching staff for the 2016-2017 school year.
After that year, a new coaching staff was hired. Coach Mark Carroll has now taken over as the Drake University director of track & field and cross country. Joining Carroll’s staff is Amy Rudolph, Ngonidazshe Makusha, Jay Koloseus and Zane Chapman.
Carroll comes to Drake after eight seasons serving as the head cross country coach and assistant track & field coach at Auburn University. Carroll served as the distance coach for the Irish Olympic team in the 2012 London Olympics and was Ireland’s distance coach in the 2010 European Championships. Before coaching at Auburn, Carroll ran professionally for ASICS, Adidas and Nike.
Carroll is a two-time Olympian, racing in the 5,000 meters for his native Ireland in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic games. He is a six-time World Championships qualifier, and has set Irish national records in the 3,000, the 5,000 and the 10,000 meters. He won the 2000 European Indoor Championship in the 3,000 meters and finished sixth in the New York Marathon in 2002. Prior to his professional career, Carroll competed collegiately for Providence College where he was a six-time All American and the 1995 NCAA indoor champion in the 5,000 meters.
Rudolph was a two-time Olympian, represented the U.S. by placing 10th in the 5,000 meters in the 1996 Olympic games and set the American record in the 5,000 meters that same year. She was a seven-time member of the U.S. World Championships teams and a three-time USA National Champion. Prior to her professional career, Rudolph competed collegiately for Providence College and was a two-time NCAA Champion and 10-time All American. She is married to Carroll.
Makusha joined Drake after serving as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater Florida State and competing internationally since 2012. Makusha set the NCAA 100-meter record at 9.89 in 2011, which stood until spring of last year. He was the winner of the Bowerman Award in 2011, which is collegiate track & field’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He was a seven-time NCAA champion, and won both the 100 meters and long jump at Drake Stadium. Makusha finished fourth in the long jump in the 2008 Olympics where he represented his native Zimbabwe. He also holds the Zimbabwe national records in the 100 meters and long jump.
Koloseus was a member of two BIG EAST champion cross country teams as Syracuse during his collegiate career. Prior to joining Drake, he started the cross-country programs at Louisburg College in 2013 and started the track & field programs in 2015, which finished in the top 20 at the National Championships that year.
Zane Chapman comes to Drake after spending the last season as the volunteer throws coach at the University of Wisconsin.
This new staff has already started fall training for the track & field program, and Carroll, Koloseus and Rudolph are halfway through their first cross country season at Drake University. Tune in next week to hear from the coaches and athletes about the coaching transition, the fall training and the season that is underway.