Head track coach leaves Kent State for Illinois

Kali Price

Wendel McRaven, track and field and cross country coach, announced Thursday he is leaving the Flashes for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

McRaven was named head men’s cross country coach and assistant men’s track and field coach for the Fighting Illini.

“He did a fantastic job as head coach,” said Laing Kennedy, Kent State Director of Athletics. “I’m pleased for him to have this opportunity.”

Kennedy appointed assistant coach track and field and cross country coach Brad Hunt as interim coach while the search for McRaven’s replacement begins.

“(Hunt) will definitely be considered for the position,” Kennedy said.

The athletic department hopes to have a new head coach appointed by the middle of August, said Kennedy. Until a new coach is named, Hunt is trying to help make the “transition as seamless as possible,” Kennedy said.

Hunt is working with the team’s new recruits and returning athletes to prepare for the upcoming cross country season as usual, Kennedy said.

During his nine years at Kent State, McRaven led the Flashes to five Mid-American Conference championships.

McRaven earned several honors while at Kent State, where he was named MAC Coach of the Year twice. Most recently, McRaven earned the titles of the 2005 MAC Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year, the 2005 MAC Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year and also the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year.

Both the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams were dramatically changed by McRaven’s influence, Kennedy said.

“He took our track and field and cross country programs to a level that they’ve never been before,” Kennedy said. “I’m proud to have had him as a part of our program.”

Contact general assignment reporter Kali Price at [email protected].