After 15 years at Penn State and 32 various coach of the year awards, track and field/cross country coach Beth Alford-Sullivan will take the same job at Tennessee, the university announced today.
“My 15 years at Penn State have been outstanding for both Jim and myself,” said Alford-Sullivan in a statement. “We have enjoyed all of our time here and will miss this Happy Valley tremendously.”
Sullivan began her successful Penn State career as the coach of the women’s track and field and cross country team, becoming director of both the women’s and men’s teams in 2006. Under her watch, 158 Nittany Lions (116 women, 42 men) won All-American honors, four of them winning national championships. She garnered nine Big Ten championships, with six of her players earning Big Ten Athlete of the Year honors. She leaves the program in the midst of success — the women’s track and field team was the 2014 Big Ten indoor and outdoor champions.
“We want to thank Beth for all of her hard work and dedicated efforts on behalf of the Penn State track and field and cross country programs,” said Athletic Directory Dave Joyner. “Under Beth’s leadership, our programs reached new heights in winning Big Ten Championships, NCAA individual titles and competing among the top teams nationally.”
Joyner also said a national search for her replacement will begin immediately. The news of Alford-Sullivan’s departure is the first shake-up in the athletic department since last week’s news that Joyner will retire on Aug 1.
Here’s the rest of Alford-Sullivan’s statement in the press release:
“I would like to thank Penn State, the Penn State Athletic department, Penn State Track and Field/Cross Country and all of our friends, fans, alums and family associated for a great ride over the years. It has been an honor to represent Penn State and to wear the Blue and White each day. I will treasure all that I have experienced here forever. A special thanks to our former athletic administration of Tim Curley, Sue Scheetz and the late Ellen Perry for hiring me and helping me grow and develop this program. My staffs, both past and present, have helped me achieve all that we have accomplished and I am humbled to have worked alongside them all. A big thank you to the team members I have had the true pleasure to coach over the years. All of you have made this a great place to work and an amazing place to win!! Jim and I look forward to this next phase in life at the University of Tennessee and will always carry the pride of Penn State with us.”