Cory Erdmann has been named the next head coach of the Eastern Kentucky University men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs, Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller announced on Friday.
“I’m very pleased to have Cory leading our track and field, and cross country programs,” Lochmueller said. “Most importantly, Cory is a person of high character and will be a tremendous role model for our student-athletes. He will ensure that the Colonels are successful in the classroom, in competition and in life after college.
“Rick Erdmann came to me six months ago and expressed his intensions to retire. Since that time, we’ve been working to identify the best candidate to continue the tradition of success that Rick established at EKU. Through that process, it became clear to me that Cory was the right person to provide the continuity that the programs need to continue to compete at the national level. While serving as the programs’ recruiting coordinator, Cory has proven he can bring student-athletes to EKU who will have outstanding academic success, and who can compete on the national and international level.”
Erdmann has served as Eastern Kentucky’s recruiting coordinator since 2009, and has helped bring to EKU some of the top student-athletes in program history, including Soufiane Bouchikhi (a six-time All-American and 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championship participant), Ole Hesselbjerg (a two-time NCAA bronze medalist in the steeplechase and a 2016 Olympian), Thijs Nijhuis (IAAF World Half-Marathon Championship participant), Wade Meddles (NCAA cross country All-American), Jaime Escriche (NCAA cross country All-American), Charlotte Imer (two-time All-American) and Jamaine Coleman (the 2018 national runner-up in the steeplechase). Erdmann has extensive experience recruiting, particularly distance runners, on a national and international level.
“I would like to thank Director Lochmueller, President Benson, our sport administrator Grant Stepp and everyone involved with our program for providing me with this opportunity,” Erdmann said. “I recognize that I am not a traditional hire, but I believe my knowledge of EKU and our program will be an asset as we continue to work to maintain our national standing and move our program forward.”
Since Erdmann joined the staff in August of 2009, EKU has won 19 OVC titles, including the last nine men’s cross country titles and eight of the last nine women’s cross country titles. During this time, EKU cross country teams have become fixtures on the national scene. Over the last seven years, the men’s cross country team has qualified for the NCAA Championships five times. Between 2011 and 2015, Eastern Kentucky was one of only 10 schools in the country to qualify each and every year. In 2017, the EKU women became the first OVC team ever to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, finishing 23rd. In 2013, the men’s cross country team won the NCAA Southeast Region for the first time in school history, defeating schools such as Virginia, North Carolina and North Carolina State to advance to the NCAA Championships for the third consecutive year, ultimately concluding the season with a 15th place finish.
“EKU is a special place and we have a special program,” Erdmann said. “I am grateful for this opportunity, and I, along with everyone on our staff, will work very hard to help our student-athletes become the best versions of themselves possible. This includes helping them achieve success athletically, academically and socially.”
In his first staff moves, Erdmann announced that Rick Erdmann, who led the program for 39 years (1979 to 2018) and was conferred the title Head Coach Emeritus of the cross country and track and field teams by the EKU Board of Regents on June 26, will continue to work with the program.
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