U of M - Sullivan Announced as Big Ten Coach of the Year

U of M - Sullivan Announced as Big Ten Coach of the Year

Provided by U of M

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- After guiding the Wolverines to the program's first Big Ten Title since 1998, and the 10th in U-M history, University of Michigan men's cross country coach Kevin Sullivan was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by his peers and the conference on Wednesday (Nov. 4).

The Maize and Blue scored 63 points to take the conference crown this past Sunday (Nov. 1), placing all five scorers in the top 25, led by two-time All-American and fifth-year senior co-captain Mason Ferlic. His runner-up placing was the best by any individual Wolverine since Nate Brannen's 2003 runner-up finish.

Ferlic earned first team All-Big Ten honors for his efforts, and he was not the only Michigan runner to secure conference recognition. Junior co-captain Ben Flanagan (eighth) and senior Tony Smoragiewicz (ninth) earned All-Big Ten second team accolades.

A 16-time Big Ten champion and 14-time All-American, Sullivan is one of the most accomplished athletes in U-M history and joins Jim Stinzi (1987-88; MSU) and Jerry Schumacher (1999, 2001-07; Wisconsin) as the only former Big Ten athletes to win the conference's highest coaching recognition.

In its last scored meet before the postseason, U-M placed third at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational (Oct. 16), topping 15 ranked programs, including a trio of top-seven schools. Under Sullivan's guidance, Ferlic won Big Ten and USTFCCCA Athlete of the Week honors last month his individual title at the Greater Louisville Classic (Oct. 3).

In addition to helping Ferlic to an All-America season in 2014, Sullivan has coached a trio of All-Great Lakes Region performers, and Maize and Blue athletes have earned five all-conference honors in two seasons under Sullivan.

On the track, Sullivan helped the Wolverines to the program's best conference finish since 2009 during the indoor season, when U-M finished fifth. Michigan finished that meet as the only team to score in every distance and middle-distance even (800-meters, mile, 3K, 5K, DMR). Sullivan also coached Ferlic to a pair of Big Ten titles (indoor 5K, outdoor steeplechase), and during the outdoor season he pushed five athletes to qualify for the NCAA Regionals, earning seven bids.

Michigan is currently ranked fifth in the latest edition of the USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll, the program's highest ranking since the 2004 season and the second-highest to date (fourth; 1997). It also marks the first year since 2004 that both the men's and women's teams have had top-five rankings in the same week, as the women entered the Big Ten Championships ranked No. 2.

U-M will continue its postseason run next Friday (Nov. 13) with the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The 10,000-meter race will be run at Wisconsin's Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin, and is set for a noon CST starting gun.

Communications Contact: Chad Shepard