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Haveman returns as Fighting Illini Head Coach for Men’s and Women’s Cross Country




CHAMPAGNE, ILL Sarah Havemancoach of the Illinois distance runners since 2017 and head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country program since 2020, will return in the same capacity on the coaching staff assembled by the new director of athletics and cross country Petros KyprianouDirector of Athletics Josh Whitman announced on Tuesday. In addition, Whitman announced that Haveman’s contract, which currently expires in August 2023, would be renewed, with her new contract subject to approval by the Board of Trustees at its September meeting.

“We are incredibly grateful to Sarah for her dedication and loyalty to our program and our student athletes,” said Whitman. “She has been a dynamic member of our lead coaching staff and her competitive, student-centered approach is much appreciated. I am excited about her partnership with Petros and look forward to building on the momentum she has created in our distance programs in the years to come .”

Haveman has been a member of the cross-country coaching staff since the 2017 season. In her first year as the program’s head coach, she led the women’s team to fourth place in the NCAA Midwest Regional, its best since 2009. In 2019, she led the women’s team to win the Midwest Regional Title for the second time in school history, and the first since 2006. This feat qualified them for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2009, where the team placed 22nd.

Haveman also coaches distance runners throughout the athletic season, most notably All-American Jon Davis. She coached him to a mile under four minutes (3:58.06) in 2019, the fastest mile in the history of the program. Davis is one of the most awarded runners to make it through the Illini program. The five-time All-American holds two school records; the indoor mile (3:58.06) and the 3000m (7:49.92) and is the 498th American to run a mile under four minutes. He was the 2018 Illinois freshman of the year and the UTSFCCCA Midwest Region Indoor Athlete of the Year. Most recently, last summer, he placed second in the 1500m at the 2022 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championship.

She also coached the distance medley relay (DMR) team of Joe Haight, Denis O’Callaghan, Jesse Reiser and Davis to All-America honors in 2019. This team set the fastest DMR time in school history (9:29.19) at the Alex Wilson Invitational.

“Sarah will be a great asset to our current and future teams as I felt her retention is vital to moving forward, especially in our first year restructuring staff and roster,” said Kyprianou. “She is a competitive coach with invaluable experience in both distance and cross country that fits our culture and help build a team that will challenge championships as we move forward. When I spoke with Sarah, I felt our minds align and her energy is set to be spread in this new era of Illini track and cross country. I can’t wait to support and help her lead both our men’s and women’s cross country teams this coming fall.”

Another notable product of Havemans coaching is: Olivia Howell. Howell is a two-time All-American and reigning two-time University of Illinois. Female athlete of the year. She won the mile at the 2022 Big Ten Indoor Championships and the 1500m at the 2022 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. She also holds the school record in the 1000m indoor (2:46.52), indoor mile (4:33.75 ) and the 1500 meters outdoor (4:09.71).

“The University of Illinois student athletes are incredibly important to me,” Haveman says. “I am grateful to continue guiding them through this new and exciting era. I look forward to working with CoachKyprianouin to build a championship program that Illini can be proud of now, in the future and in the past.”

Details on Haveman’s contract extension are being finalized. The extension is subject to approval by the UI Board of Trustees at its next meeting.




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