New Mexico's Joe Franklin Named Women's Cross Country National Coach of the Year

Release courtesy of the University of New Mexico Sports Information

NEW ORLEANS — U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) named University of New Mexico head cross country Joe Franklin as the NCAA Division I National Women's Coach of the Year Tuesday.

Franklin, in his ninth year at New Mexico, coached the nation's top-ranked women's team to one of the most dominating seasons in the NCAA history, and capped off the 2015 campaign with a national title last week.

The Lobo women won the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships Saturday at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., with a team score of 49 points, the lowest team score in modern meet history.

New Mexico placed all five of its scorers in the top 25, led by its group of All-Americans: Courtney Frerichs (fourth place), Alice Wright (fifth), Rhona Auckland (13th), Calli Thackery (15th) and Molly Renfer (24th).

UNM easily outdistanced second-place Colorado by 80 points, 49-129, to capture the second NCAA title in University of New Mexico history. New Mexico skiing won in 2004.

The entire season was marked with exceptional and historic success for the UNM women, as they won four times in five chances, including a 45-point victory at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, a 156- point win at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and a 47-point victory at the Mountain West Championships.

The Lobos set the meet record for the lowest team score at Wisconsin and won a conference record-tying eighth-straight MW title along the way.

Franklin and his harriers finished the season with perhaps the best performance at an NCAA cross country meet ever, as the Lobos registered the lowest team score by any team since 1982, the smallest team spread (29.5 seconds) in the history of the six-kilometer championship, the most All-Americans (five) since 2009 and the most top-25 finishers (five) since 2001.

For Franklin, who was named Mountain Region Women's Coach of the Year for the third time last Tuesday, this is his second national coach of the year honor. He was named the USTFCCCA National Men's Coach of the Year in 2004 while coaching Butler University.