PETE PAGUAGA—Sports Editor
Tuesday morning, the Southern athletics community was informed that women’s cross country and track and field head coach Chris Covert has resigned from his position, effective immediately.
Men’s cross country coach John Wallin said Covert is stepping down in the middle of the season to take a “political position down in South Carolina.”
“I wish the timing would have be better,” said Covert, “it was an opportunity to get involved in the community and I had to act immediately.”
Women’s cross country has placed fifth and sixth respectively in their first two meets this season.
Covert has been the head coach of the women’s programs for the past four years and spent the three previous years as an assistant coach with the men’s program.
“He did a great job here the last four years in women’s program,” said Southern Associate Director of Athletics Communications Michael Kobylanski, “we wish him the best.”
Covert’s wife has a job in South Carolina said Wallin, “it made sense for him.”
“He felt that if he doesn’t try now, he never would,” said Wallin, “he felt he could always come back to coaching.”
This news may be shocking to the athletic community of Southern, but Covert said he had one-on-one meetings with most of the girls to let them know of his decision and that he wished he could have spoken to all of them. He also said Wallin had a team meeting to explain what will be happening.
For the rest of the academic year, Wallin will take over as the interim head coach for the women’s cross country and track and field teams. Southern will begin the search for a new coach after the outdoor spring track and field season. No one is leading the search as of now.
“It is way to early to tell,” said Kobylanski.
Wallin said he won’t be overwhelmed with having to coach but programs because it won’t be new to him.
“At the last school I was at, Adams State College, we had a combined program,” said Wallin.
Covert said he is very confident with Wallin taking over for the rest of the academic year.
“He is going to do a great job,” said Covert.
Throughout Covert’s four years, the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named him 2008 Regional Coach of the Year, the same year he won the Northeast-10 Conference Track and Field Coach of the Year. In his combined seven years at Southern, he has been an important part of three Northeast-10 Conference Championships. But Covert said the championships aren’t what he is most proud of during his tenure at Southern.
“We had a lot of great All-Academic teams,” said Covert, “I was blessed to work with a lot of great people, not just the student-athletes but the coaches and the administration have been great.”
Covert also said he believes the student-athletes should get the credit for what they accomplished together during his time.
“Coaches get too much credit,” said Covert, “I’m proud of what the girls have done.”