BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Iconic former Eastern Kentucky University cross country / track and field head coach Rick Erdmann has been elected into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame. Erdmann will be officially inducted at the annual OVC Honors Brunch, held Friday, May 31 at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville.
For 39 years (1979 to 2018), Erdmann defined excellence in the sports of cross country and track and field for EKU. During that time, he won a combined 73 OVC Championships, was named OVC Coach of the Year an unprecedented 70 times, coached a combined 46 All-Americans and guided his men’s cross country team to a No. 8 national ranking in 2016.
Erdmann coached EKU to OVC Championships in women’s cross country (31), men’s cross country (23), women’s outdoor track and field (9), women’s indoor track and field (4), men’s indoor track and field (5) and men’s outdoor track and field (1). His last title, the men’s outdoor crown, came during his final season as head coach and capped EKU’s first-ever OVC “Triple Crown,” a sweep of cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same season (EKU was the first OVC team to accomplish that feat since 2003-04).
In cross country, Erdmann coached 45 individual OVC champions and 10 Division I All-Americans. Six times his teams (3 men’s, 3 women’s) finished the OVC Championship with perfect scores (finishers 1-5). He won the 2013 NCAA Southeast Regional Men’s Championship, was named Southeast Region Coach of the Year twice (2012, 2013) and had three individual NCAA Southeast Regional individual champions. In 2011, the Colonels men became the first OVC squad to qualify for the National Championship since 1980 and would go on to qualify five-straight seasons (2011-15) and also in 2018. In 2013, the team finished 15th nationally. In 2017, the EKU women’s team became the first-ever OVC team to qualify for the National Championship, finishing 23rd overall.
In track and field, Erdmann coached 36 NCAA Division I All-Americans, including four individual NCAA runners-up. Additionally, he coached three Olympians (Jackie Humphrey, Dallas Robinson and Ole Hesselbjerg). Following his retirement, he was named “Head Coach Emeritus” of the program, which is now coached by his son Cory.
The Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame was organized in 1977 with the intent of honoring the coaches, administrators, faculty and staff that have been associated with the OVC for at least five years and provided extensive and outstanding service to the Conference. With the induction of this year’s class, the membership will reach 86.
Former Southeast Missouri president Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins and former Austin Peay coach and administrator Cheryl Holt were also elected in this year’s class.
Erdmann was inducted into the EKU Hall of Fame in October of 2018.