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Former McM Track Coach Barbara Crousen Enshrined in USTFCCCCA Hall of Fame


  Dave Beyer
  Wednesday, December 16, 2015 11:13 AM
  Archives 2014 - 2015

Abilene, TX

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – McMurry University’s former track and field coach Barbara Crousen has always been somewhat of a trailblazer and, on Tuesday evening, she was recognized for her distinguished career with induction into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Coaches Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held at the USTFCCCA annual convention at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa.

Joining Crousen – the lone female in the USTFCCCA’s Class of 2015 - for enshrinement were Jim Bibbs (Michigan State), Bob Lewis (Frostburg State), Billy Maxwell (Nebraska, Texas, LSU, Tennessee), Don Strametz (Cal State Northridge) and Gary Wilson (Minnesota, UW-La Crosse).

“What a great honor,” Crousen reflected during her acceptance speech. “I am so proud.  This little girl from Alpine, Texas – who never ran a step of track and had never even seen a track meet until she took a group of ladies to run in it – fell in love with (track); it was love at first sight.  I am greatly honored by this award.

”I am really in awe that I have received this award.”

NCAA team championships in every sport and at every level of the NCAA are all special in their own way. However, very few and far between are the national titles that transcend those boundaries as milestone achievements in sport. In 2008, McMurry's Barbara Crousen won one of those national titles when she became the first woman in NCAA history to coach a men's team to a national title in any sport, leading McM to the NCAA III crown.
 
Nearly a decade later, that short list of female coaches with men's NCAA team titles still only includes her – twice, as McMurry went on to win a second national title in 2012 – and Jennifer Michel of Western State (2011 men's NCAA DII cross country).
 
In winning the 2008 national crown, her War Hawks' performance was as dramatic as it was historic. McMurry entered the meet-finale 4×400 relay with 29 points, four behind leader Cortland, which had failed to qualify a team to the final. The odds were against Crousen's War Hawks, who had qualified to NCAAs as the 14th and final team and had barely made the final as the seventh-fastest of the nine advancing teams in the prelims.
 
Anchored by Hanneus Ollison, who ultimately had a hand in 34 of McMurry's 35 points, Crousen's squad stepped up to the occasion and finished third in a race in which third, fourth, fifth and sixth were all separated by less than a second.
 
Four years later in 2012 her squad once again claimed the national title, this time in much more comfortable fashion as the War Hawks scored 66 points to topple runner-up UW-La Crosse. That team featured four national champions – including Kevin Cunningham's rare double victory in the open 400 meters and 400-meter hurdles - and 29 total All-America efforts.
 
Crousen took over the McMurry program in 1998 – reintroducing the sport back to the McM campus in 1999 - following 32 years of coaching in the Texas public school system. It only took her two seasons to shape the War Hawk women into a top-10 national program. Her women finished ninth in 2000, before going on to make the podium the next year with a fourth-place finish and take national runner-up honors in 2002.
 
Her men followed a similar trajectory just a few years later, starting with a 10th-place showing in 2004 before building up to fourth in 2006, the national title in 2008, a runner-up finish in 2009, a third-place trophy in 2011 and the final national crown in 2012.
 
Crousen retired after the 2014 season, capping an era in which her men and women accumulated eight top-four national finishes and a combined 16 top-10 efforts.
 
During that time, her teams claimed 14-consecutive American Southwest Conference men's titles (never surrendering the ASC title during her tenure) and 10 more women's crowns. In all, she coached her athletes to a combined 61 individual national titles, 244 All-America honors, and more than 200 individual conference titles.
 
She was twice named the USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year – earning the honor for women (2001) and men (2012) - and earned multiple national honors as a high school coach. She was inducted into the Texas Girls Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Big Country Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2014, she was also elected to the Hall of Fame at her alma mater, Sul Ross State, as well.

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Started in 1995, the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame exists to recognize coaches who have brought great distinction to themselves, to their institutions and to the sports of cross country & track & field. Each of the honorees exemplifies the qualities of dedication to the sport, leadership and passion for their profession that serve as an inspiration to coaches everywhere in the sport.

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gellison@mcm.edu
325-793-4610