The Wildcats recently hired Chris Woods from Georgia State University as the new head coach of ACU’s cross-country team. Woods will take over the role Coach Sam Burroughs left vacant last offseason.
Woods graduated from Mississippi State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in clinical exercise physiology. Woods was four-time NCAA Division I national qualifier, two-time all-American, four-time all -Southeastern Conference and four-time all-Mideast Region during his time at MSU. He competed in the 800-meter run and the 4×400 -meter relay, earning all-American status in the latter.
Woods returned to Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta after graduation, where he coached the track and field teams’ middle distance and distance runners. Last season, Woods coached at Georgia State before leaving for ACU.
“I enjoyed my time at Georgia State, but I am really excited about coming to ACU. I am trying to really focus on getting ACU where they need to be,” Woods said. “Its exciting coming here because I know that any given year we can compete for a national championship. That is why I came here – because I want to win national championships. I don’t want to just settle for conference championships. ”
Woods will take over a cross-country team looking to improve from last year. The men’s team won the Lone Star Conference championship last season, with Amos Sang and Cleopjas Tanui- who finished first and second, respectively – leading the wildcats to their 19 th consecutive conference title. Sang and Tanui will return as key leaders on the team.
The women’s team struggled last season and finished in a disappointing eighth place in the conference championship. The Wildcats hope to rebound this season, led by Chloe Susset, last season’s all-conference honors winner.
“Some might write them off for a conference championship this season, but I see no reason why we can’t be a top three or at least top five team in the conference,” Woods said. “With the women that I have and the caliber that they are, that will be a huge success for us this year. ”
Woods hopes provide a spark to this year’s team and push the athletes to compete harder this season.
“I am a guy that gets fired up. Hopefully I can bring that type of intensity to the guys and girls,” Woods said. “I want to be able to put a light switch in every one of them, to where you can cut that switch on when its time to compete, and you get real nasty. Then cut the switch off when you are done.”