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Locally: Former Penn State coach Erin Tucker hired to be Eastern Washington’s director, head coach of track and field program

Sept. 6, 2022 Updated Tue., Sept. 6, 2022 at 5:13 p.m.

From staff and news services

From staff and news services

Erin Tucker, associate head coach at Penn State since 2015, has been hired as Eastern Washington University’s director of track and field/head track and field coach, Eagles director of athletics Lynn Hickey announced.

Tucker brings an extensive amount of experience and success to an Eastern program that lost three coaches with a combined 90 years of experience to retirement in the spring.

A six-time All-American sprinter and hurdler at Florida, Tucker has coached two NCAA champions, five runners-up and 28 conference champions in stops at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Kentucky, Florida and Penn State. He’s also coached nine Olympians, including at least one in every Olympic cycle since 2004.

The 1998 Florida graduate is also a two-time USTFCCCA assistant coach of the year.

Baylee Mires of Spokane, who spent the 2021-22 season as the women’s cross country and distant assistant coach at Notre Dame, has been hired by Florida State as an assistant coach for women’s distance and cross country.

The Mead graduate, who earned first- and second-team All-America honors when she ran for the University of Washington from 2011-16, helped guide the Notre Dame women to a fifth-place finish at the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

“She’s one of the best young coaches in the NCAA,” Florida State head coach Bob Braman said of Mires, who also coached the Notre Dame women’s distance medley relay to an All-American finish at the 2022 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

• Washington State director of cross country/track and field Wayne Phipps has added four new coaches to the Cougars’ staff, including Derick Hinch as associate head coach of track and field, and Laura Harmon, head coach of women’s cross country and a track and field assistant.

Gabriel Mvumvure is an assistant coach of track and field and Emma Wren is an assistant of cross country and track and field.

Hinch has spent the past three years of a six-year coaching career as an assistant at Cornell, where he helped Big Red athletes produce 52 top-10 school marks, seven conference championships and earn six All-America honors.

Harmon, an All-American distance runner at Oregon, has a 17-year coaching career that includes multiple high school stops and three years at Division II Minnesota Duluth that produced numerous NCAA All-Americans.

Mvumvure, who represented Zimbabwe at the 2016 Olympics, will coach men’s and women’s sprints and hurdles as he did during three years as an assistant at Brown University. It’ll be the coaching start for Wren, a 2021 NCAA Division II All-American in the 1,500 meters for Adams State after transferring from Kansas State.

College scene

Idaho women’s soccer freshman goalkeeper Kira Witte was the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Week after she posted a five-save shutout in the Vandals’ 1-0 win over Nevada on Aug. 28. It was Witte’s second shutout in her third collegiate game.

• Gonzaga senior libero Alisa Kim was named to the Oklahoma University Invitational all-tournament team for her performance as the Zags went 1-2. She had team highs of 44 digs and four service aces with just one error during the weekend.

After GU lost to Oklahoma and Iowa the first day, the Zags swept Florida International the second day for first-year volleyball coach Katie Wilson’s first victory, with Kim supplying 27 digs, three aces and a kill.

• Fifth-year senior football player Kaleb Ford-Dement and Washington State senior associate director of athletics for student-athlete development Shelby McKay were honored by the university with WSU Black Alumni Student Excellence Awards that recognize outstanding achievements by members of the school’s Black community.

Ford-Dement, completing his degree in social sciences, has been a team leader and mentor for new student-athletes and was nominated to serve as a football representative for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He’s also been involved in the greater Pullman community as a volunteer for numerous activities, from CougPals to Senior Center luncheons.

As leader of the Cougar Pursuit student-athlete development unit, McKay oversees the DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) Council and has created ample opportunities for student-athletes to grow in their career, leadership and personal development. Student-athlete involvement in the community has grown tenfold since her arrival in January 2020.

• The Gonzaga men’s and women’s cross country teams followed up historic national rankings with a strong presence in the West Coast Conference preseason coaches’ polls. Both programs were picked to finish second behind BYU and four men and two women earned preseason All-WCC honors.

Men’s preseason All-WCC selections were seniors Yacine Guermali, Cullen McEachern and James Mwaura and sophomore Wil Smith (Lewis and Clark). Mwaura is coming off an All-America season. Women honored were senior Kristen Garcia and junior Alicia Anderson.

• The GU men and women lead area schools in 2022 USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Preseason Cross Country rankings.

Both teams are ranked nationally, the men 16th and the women 23rd, with the men rated third in the West Region and the women fourth. Washington State is 10th and Idaho 15th among West Region men, with Idaho 11th and WSU 15th in the West women’s rankings.

Washington is ranked eighth in the men’s and women’s preseason national polls and is second in the West behind Stanford. Two-time defending national champion Northern Arizona leads the men’s national poll and defending champion North Carolina State leads the women’s.

Hall of fame

Bob Guerin of Spokane, who worked 15 years in the Big Sky Conference, earning 10 Football Championship Subdivision postseason assignments between 2004 and his retirement after the 2018 season, has been inducted into the BSC Football Officials Hall of Fame.

The conference announcement reads in part, “Bob Guerin is truly one of the most respected football officials in the history of the Big Sky Conference. His character, both on and off of the field, and his commitment to his fellow officials are revered.”

Guerin, who worked as a line official, started his college officiating career in the Spokane College Football Officials Association. He moved up the ranks, working in the Northwest Conference (Division III) and the GNAC (D-II), earning multiple postseason assignments. He served several terms on the BSC Football Officials board, including one term as president.

Letters of intent

Western Washington cross country/track and field: Allana Parker, Mead; Alexis Parker, Mead; Connor Palmen, Medical Lake.

Rowing

Gonzaga University women’s rowing head coach Andrew Derrick announced three additions to his coaching staff. Eric Snyder and Mary Anderson will be assistant coaches, and Megan Chalfant, who collected multiple honors following the 2021-22 season when she competed for the Bulldogs as a grad transfer, was named a graduate assistant.

Snyder is coming off three years at Loyola Marymount, where he was promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach in 2021-22. He worked with the Lions’ 2V8 boat last season that finished a program-best second to GU at the West Coast Conference Championships. Prior to LMU, Snyder worked under Derrick, who was then head coach at Seattle Pacific.

Anderson, who rowed at the University of Oklahoma and for the powerhouse OKC Riversport club program, has been coaching multiple Riversport teams, from corporate through youth levels. She has a strength and conditioning background and also works as an certified fitness instructor.

Chalfant, who also rowed for Derrick at Seattle Pacific before transferring to GU last season, was a CRCA Scholar-Athlete, All-WCC first team, WCC co-athlete of the year and a Pocock All-America honorable mention.

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