13:27 PM

Coach of the Year honor No. 10 for Karen Dennis

Dennis was selected unanimously by her track and field and cross country coaching peers

Karen Dennis, The Ohio State University director of track and field and cross country, has been unanimously selected by her coaching peers as the 2021 Big Ten Conference women’s outdoor coach of the year. This is Dennis’ 10th Big Ten coach of the year honor and her sixth in the last four years.

The Ohio State women’s team won its eighth overall team championship in program history, all under Dennis, this past weekend at the University of Illinois. The team has dominated the Big Ten with eight conference indoor or outdoor titles in the last 11 years.

The women were led by two individual victories from sprinter Anavia Battle, a 4x100 relay crown, and two Big Ten championship record-setting performances from hammer thrower Sade Olatoye and shot putter Adelaide Aquilla to win the title with 117 points. Indiana (109) and Minnesota (106) placed second and third.

The title, Ohio State’s second consecutive outdoor crown, was particularly special for Dennis.

“This championship was fraught with challenges you couldn’t see coming,” Dennis said. “All of us were certainly dealing with the pandemic, but then on top of that there were injuries and substitutions, you name it. This group of women stepped up and stepped in when needed. Their performances were amazing and I am so very proud of this special group of warriors.”

Dennis, who has won more Big Ten track and field coach of the year honors than any female coach in conference history, has now joined an elite group of coaches with at least 10 coach of the year honors, either indoor or outdoor. Dennis holds the distinction among this group of being the only such coach with coach of the year honors for both men’s and women’s teams.

Most Big Ten Coach of the Year Honors

Men’s and Women’s Track & Field

  1. 22 Ed Nuttycombe, Wisconsin
  2. 13 James Henry, Michigan
  3. 11 Gary Winkler, Illinois
  4. 10 Karen Dennis, Ohio State
  5.  8 Beth Alford-Sullivan, Penn State

“It certainly is an honor to be among this group of outstanding coaches,” Dennis said. “I have always admired the work these individuals have accomplished at their respective universities.”

The NCAA East Regionals in Jacksonville, Florida, on May 26-29 are up next for Dennis and the Buckeyes.

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