Men’s cross country coach Steve Dolan, who led Princeton’s distance runners to unparalleled success in the last two seasons, will not return to the Tigers in the fall.
Dolan informed the team of his departure on Saturday, according to rising junior Alejandro Arroyo Yamin, who said that Dolan was offered a position elsewhere. On Monday, an opening for head men’s cross country coach and assistant track coach, a role Dolan also served, was posted to Princeton’s job website.
“I was obviously in shock, I never expected this to happen. However, an opportunity rang Coach’s bell, and he had to go for it,” Arroyo Yamin said Monday evening in a Twitter message.
The men’s cross country team was ranked as high as ninth nationally in the fall of 2011; Princeton won its second straight Heptagonals championship in October and finished 19th as a team at NCAAs. That season came on the heels of a 2010 campaign in which the Tigers took 12th place at nationals, their best finish in program history.
Under Dolan’s watch, Princeton’s distance runners went on to have even more success in the track and field seasons. In February, Donn Cabral ’12 set an Ivy League record in the 5,000 meters, and Joe Stilin ’12 broke a 27-year-old Ancient Eight mark in the 3,000 meters the following day. In March, Princeton’s distance medley relay snapped another conference record — one it had set the previous year.
After the Tigers won the Heps triple crown (cross country, indoor and outdoor track titles) for the second straight season, Cabral won an NCAA championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and then qualified for the Olympics in the same event. (He will compete in London on Friday.)
Dolan did not respond to immediate request for comment.
“Of course, I was sad. I mean, look at the program now,” Arroyo Yamin said. “But the team thought about it and realized we couldn’t act selfishly. The talent still remains at Princeton. Even without him, we still have high expectations for next year and beyond.”
Update: Penn announced Thursday that Dolan will take over as the Quakers' Director of Cross Country/Track and Field. Princeton announced Aug. 14 that Jason Vigilante, formerly of Virginia, would replace Dolan as the men's cross country coach and assistant track and field coach.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/07/30/31044/