Dec. 15, 2008
Iona College assistant coach Jake Stewart has been named the cross country and track and field assistant coach at Lamar University head coach Trey Clark announced Friday.
Stewart, a USATF Level I Certified coach, recently completed his third cross country season as assistant coach of the men's and women's cross country and track and field programs at his alma mater. The 2005 graduate served as the programs' Midwest and Northwest recruiting coordinator.
During Stewart's time at Iona, the men's cross country program enjoyed unprecedented success with two top three finishes at the NCAA Championship. This year the Gaels ran to their second straight runner up finish at the NCAA championship after a third place finish in 2006. The second place finishes in 2007 and 2008 are the highest finish of any athletic program in the history of Iona College.
"We're excited to have Jake join the Lamar track and cross country program," Clark said. "He's coming from a school that has had a great deal of success at the national level and I truly believe he can help our program make the next step. He knows what it takes to build a championship caliber team, and with the pieces we already have in place, I think he's going to do a wonderful job."
The Gaels also won three straight Northeast Regional titles and MAAC Championships. Their MAAC streak has now extended to 18 straight, the third longest active streak in Division I. The men's program has also excelled in the classroom, earning NCAA Division I Men's All-Academic Cross Country Team of the Year in both 2006 and 2007.
The women's program at Iona also enjoyed success with MAAC Championships in all three seasons with Stewart as an assistant. In 2006, the squad earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship for the first time in school history with a second place finish at their regional meet.
In his three years back in New Rochelle, Stewart helped coach four athletes who have represented their country in the World Cross Country Championships, eight All-Americans in both cross country and track & field, 10 athletes who have qualified for NCAA Track & Field Championships and 26 MAAC Champions in both indoor and outdoor track.
"The program here at Lamar is certainly in a good spot," Stewart said. "Sita (Waru-Ewell) did a great job putting the pieces in place and the chance to break through to the next level, and make it to nationals year in and year out, is right there. Coach Clark is committed to building the program, and that was very important to me. I'm looking forward to getting down there and working with the team."
As an undergrad Stewart was a member of the Iona squad from 2002 through 2005 and was a part of four MAAC Championship teams, three Northeast Regional Championship teams and four teams that finished in the top 10 at the NCAA National Championships. He served as a team captain for the Gaels in 2005 on the way to a fourth place finish at the national championship. He holds the honor as the first walk on in Gael history to hold the honor of being team captain.
In the spring of 2006, Stewart was an assistant track coach at Western Oregon University. While at Western Oregon, he worked primarily with the Distance program. Four of his athletes provisionally qualified for the Division II National Championships. He was also the Western United States recruiting coordinator and he helped bring in one of the deepest recruiting classes in the programs history.
Stewart will begin working in the spring semester.