Long time Gophers cross country coach Steve Plasencia was announced as Minnesota’s next men’s track and field coach today by Athletic Director Joel Maturi.
Plasencia will replace Phil Lundin, who left for the same position at St. Thomas last May after 13 years at the helm.
“I feel tremendously honored to be given the opportunity to be the next head men’s track and field coach at the University of Minnesota,” Plasencia said in a statement.
“I am anxious to carry on the great tradition the program has had at Minnesota. Our focus will be to help student-athletes achieve excellence in both their academic and athletic aspirations.”
Plasencia has found plenty of success with the cross country program where his squads have participated in the NCAA Championships in 10 of his 12 seasons as coach ñ a pretty good track record to show Maturi in at a job interview.
“I’m excited we have one of our own in Steve Plasencia to continue the success of our men’s track & field program,” Maturi said. “Our history is rich with great coaches in this sport with names like Jim Kelly, Roy Griak and Phil Lundin. Coach Plasencia is a great addition to this list.”
Plasencia, who will be just the ninth coach in Minnesota history and the fourth since 1937, is far from new to campus.
In addition to his tenure as head cross country coach, Plasencia was a five-time All-American in cross country and track and served as the Gophers captain in 1977.
“Steve is a Golden Gopher through and through. He was successful as a student-athlete and as the head coach of our men’s cross country program,” Maturi added. “This is a great step forward in his coaching career. We look forward to the Minnesota men’s track program continuing its fine tradition of success.”