Bovee Named Director of Track & Field/Cross Country
June 9, 2014
NORMAL, Ill. - Jeff Bovee has been hired as the director of track & field/cross country Monday, as announced by Director of Athletics Larry Lyons. Bovee has 18 years of collegiate coaching experience, including eight at Illinois State.
Bovee brings a tremendous pedigree into the director position, as he has had success as the Redbird men's and women's head cross country coach for the past eight seasons, as well as other levels in college athletics.
"We are pleased to announce that Jeff Bovee has accepted the position of director of track & field/cross country for our men's and women's programs at Illinois State," Lyons said. "Managing a staff and scholarships for six sports presents unique challenges. Jeff has articulated a clear vision and plan to compete for Missouri Valley Conference Championships. His plan is similar to what we have experienced with previous Illinois State championship-caliber teams. His passion for the sport and the Redbirds is contagious. We will need patience as Coach Bovee builds the programs. We believe his familiarity with Illinois State, the MVC and the State of Illinois high school track will help him tremendously as we move forward."
With the Redbirds, Bovee has coached 97 All-Valley performers, as well as 19 MVC Individual Champions in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field. On the national level, he has led 24 student-athletes to the NCAA Track and Field Preliminary Round, all coming in distance events.
"I am thrilled for this incredible opportunity to lead the Redbird Track and Field/Cross Country programs into the future," Bovee said. "I would like to thank the Illinois State administration, especially Director of Athletics Larry Lyons, for entrusting me to lead and coach the Redbird Track & Field and Cross Country programs. In my eight years here as an assistant coach, I have come to love this University and believe that it has many inherent attributes that make winning in the Valley in track & field and cross country more readily attainable. ISU is located centrally where much of the top track and field talent resides in the United States, including talent-rich Illinois."
Bovee coached former Redbird Aisha Praught to a 2012 Indoor NCAA Division I second-place finish in the mile run. Praught ran a personal-best mark of 4:37.77 in the mile, setting Valley and Illinois State records in the event. She also set a Valley record in the 3K steeplechase and 1500-meter run, clocking times of 9:51.30 and 4:16.06, respectively. Bovee helped Kristen Zillmer reach success on the national level, as she qualified for back-to-back NCAA Championships in the 3K steeplechase in 2013 and 2014.On the men's side, Ryan Rutherford set a Valley record in the 10K and an ISU record in the 5K during the 2014 season under Bovee's guidance.
On the team level, Bovee directed the women's cross country program to back-to-back Valley Championship titles in 2011 and 2012, earning MVC Women's Coach of the Year honors in each of those seasons. He also guided the women's team to six top-13 NCAA Midwest Regional finishes. In four of the last six years, he has coached the men's cross country team to top-three Valley finishes in the conference championship, including a second-place finish in 2007, while the men to three top-12 NCAA Midwest Regional finishes.
Not only have Bovee and his teams found success in competitions, but they also are successful in the classroom, as the women's cross country team has achieved status as an United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team for seven-straight seasons, while the men's team received the honor twice. The men's team also earned a perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) for the 2010-11 season.
"ISU has a strong academic reputation and a rich history of success in the sport at the NCAA level," Bovee continued. "My immediate focus will be to transform our recent national success with individuals like Tim Glover, Brittany Smithand Aisha Praught into team success at the conference level. I welcome the challenge of winning a triple crown in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, as well as doing my part to help ISU win the MVC All-Sports trophy once again." Not only does Bovee have experience in leading his teams, but he also is a successful meet director, as the ISU cross country teams have hosted over 40 teams and 1,000 athletes in the Illinois Intercollegiate at Weibring Golf Club.
Prior to Illinois State, Bovee spent three seasons as the head coach at Central College in Pella, Iowa, where he coached five NCAA Division III All-Americans, eight NCAA qualifiers, five NCAA All-Region cross country runners, a fourth-place distance medley relay team at the NCAA indoor meet, as well as several other honors. Bovee also led Parkland College for four seasons as the head coach, after serving for a year at Eastern Illinois as a graduate assistant for the 1995-96 season. He also has experience coaching at the high school level.
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