William Smith College Cross Country Head Coach Jack Warner has announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2012 season. A member of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Hall of Fame, Warner’s coaching career spans parts of seven decades, including the past 18 seasons as the Herons’ head coach.
Warner has directed the steady improvement of the Herons, who have finished as high as eighth in the ECAC Championship meet and 14th at the NCAA Regional Championship meet. In 2005, Warner founded the Cross Country Only Conference Championships, which features collegiate cross country teams from schools that do not sports track and field. The Herons have won the CCOC title four times, including each of the past three.
“Throughout his career, Jack has mentored many All-Americans, Olympic qualifiers and Olympians,” William Smith Athletic Director Deb Steward said. “His knowledge, spirit, commitment, dedication, and humor have made an impact on all of us, student-athletes and staff, every day.”
In 2000, William Smith had its first runner reach the national championship meet. Amy Young ’03 finished 33rd overall, earning All-American honors. She returned to the national stage once more before completing her degree. Warner sent his second runner to the national championship, after Emily D’Addario finished seventh in the 2011 regional qualifier.
Warner has embraced the student-athlete ideal of Division III, helping his Herons earn USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors in each of his 18 seasons.
A 1951 graduate of Syracuse University, Warner served three years active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation. Upon discharge from the Marines, he spent a year as a physical education teacher-coach in North Syracuse.
Warner served as an assistant coach at the University of Kansas from 1955 to 1956, where he also earned a master’s degree. He was named the head coach at Colgate following his tenure with the Jayhawks. In Hamilton, N.Y., Warner led the cross country and track teams, posting a 135-82-3 record. He served as co-coach of the Uganda Olympic Team at the 1960 summer games in Rome.
After 11 seasons with the Raiders, Warner took over the cross country and track teams at Cornell University. His 23-year career with the Big Red included a record of 267-149-4. Warner retired from Cornell in 1990, but dusted off his stop watch just five years later to join the William Smith coaching staff.
A New York State-certified track and field and cross country official, Warner served as referee of the NCAA Division III Indoor Track Championships in 1996.
In 1978, Warner was named the NCAA District II Men’s Track Coach of the Year, and, in 1983, the District II Women’s Cross Country Co-Coach of the Year.
In 1988, Syracuse honored Warner as a Letter Winner of Distinction. Additionally, he is a member of the Rome (N.Y.) Sports Hall of Fame, the Cornell Sports Hall of Fame, and the Niagara Association of USA Track & Field Hall of Fame.
William Smith will run in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Rochester. The top finishing teams and top seven individuals from non-qualifying teams, will advance to the NCAA Championship meet in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 17.