WMU News

Track coach Diane Russo steps down

June 19, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Diane Russo, head coach for women's cross country and track and field, has resigned her post at Western Michigan University after 11 seasons. The longest serving coach in the program's history, Russo made the decision to pursue other challenges.

"I appreciate the opportunity Western Michigan offered me by giving me my first Division I head coaching position, which was fulfillment of a dream. I will miss the wonderful student-athletes with whom I have worked," said Russo.

"We are grateful for Diane's dedication over the years to the University and her student-athletes. We wish her the best as she takes on new opportunities," said WMU Director of Athletics Kathy Beauregard.

Russo arrived at WMU in the fall of 1990 and led the Broncos to a Mid-American Conference cross country title three years later. That same year, WMU's Stacey Kilburn won the individual championship. From 1992-94, the Broncos finished no lower than third at the MAC Cross Country Championships.

On the track, Russo coached nine NCAA qualifiers and three All-Americans, including assistant coach Phyllis Brooks, holder of 12 school records. Two of her athletes competed in the Olympic Trials, Jill Stamison in 1994 and Jamie Strieter in 2000.

During Russo's tenure, WMU produced at least one All-MAC athlete in 10 of 11 seasons. In addition, the Broncos established 23 indoor and 18 outdoor records and set two cross country course records.

Russo led WMU to a fourth-place showing at the 1997 MAC Indoor Championships. The Broncos' highest outdoor finish was fifth in 1995 and 1997. Her career dual meet record stands at 38-41-1.

Bronco teams coached by Russo performed well in the classroom, traditionally producing the top team grade-point average among WMU's 20 athletic squads. Four of her athletes received the Top Female Scholar-Athlete Award, the highest honor bestowed by Bronco Athletics.

WMU has begun a national search for a new coach, and a replacement for Russo is expected to be named by August.

For more information, visit the Broncos on the Web at <www.wmubroncos.com>.

Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4138, daniel.jankowski@wmich.edu

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