Alford-Sullivan Named Robichaux Award Winner
Nov. 28, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS: November 28, 2011 - Director and Head Coach of Nittany Lion Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan has been named the recipient of the 2011 Joseph Robichaux Award, to be presented at the United States Track and Field (USATF) National Convention, set for this week in St. Louis. The Robichaux Award is presented each year to a coach, administrator, or volunteer who has made a significant impact in women's track and field in the United States. Sullivan is in her 13th year at the helm of the Penn State women's program, and her sixth as the director of both the Nittany Lion men's and women's track and field/cross country squads.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the women's track and field committee of USATF," said Sullivan. "I have enjoyed serving USA Track throughout the years, and have always been honored to represent our country on a USA coaching staffs."
Sullivan has enjoyed outstanding success during her tenure in Happy Valley, coaching the Nittany Lions to well over one hundred All-America efforts, and more than 70 Big Ten individual titles. Most recently, Sullivan coached the Nittany Lion women to a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships - the highest finish by a Penn State women's squad in nearly two decades. Sullivan also guided senior Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.) to a Big Ten individual title on the season, to go along with a 16th-place effort at the NCAA Championships - the second highest women's finish in the NCAA era.
In 2009-10, Sullivan led the Nittany Lion women to the program's first-ever Big Ten "Triple Crown," which included conference team titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. The same year - Sullivan coached the Nittany Lions to a fourth-place "trophy team" standing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, bolstered by a NCAA title by then-senior Bridget Franek in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The Nittany Lions have also got the job done in the classroom under Sullivan, highlighted by its earning of the USTFCCCA "Scholar Team of the Year" award in 2010. The citation is given to the highest finishing NCAA team with a grade point average of over 3.0.
Under Sullivan, the Nittany Lion women's team has become a national mainstay, scoring at the national meet in last 11 NCAA Outdoor Championships, and 10 of the last 11 NCAA Indoor Championships. The women's squad has also recorded top four "trophy team" finishes in two of the last four years, placing fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2008 and 2010.
"This award means a lot, as previous recipients been such outstanding individuals," continued Sullivan. "I appreciate the recognition and am thrilled to receive this award."
Throughout her career, Sullivan has earned a grand total of 24 "Coach of the Year" citations, and also boasts a lengthy international resume, having recently led the United States squad as the women's head coach at the 2011 Pan-Am Junior Championships. Her international experience has also included numerous national staffs, most notably an appointment as Assistant Coach for Distance Events at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.