SMC begins search for new cross country coach
DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College announced Wednesday that it is conducting a nationwide search for a new full-time coach to lead its recently-revived cross country program for the 2021-2022 season and beyond.
Current coach Juris A. Silenieks notified the college on Monday that he will be moving to the Pittsburgh area at the end of March for family reasons.
“We are grateful to coach Juris for helping us get the program re-started,” said President Dr. Joe Odenwald. “He has done a fine job, and we’re sorry to see him go. We understand that life happens and wish him the best in his personal and professional future. He’ll always be a Roadrunner, and we’ll keep in touch.”
At a special meeting last September, the SMC Board of Trustees unanimously authorized the administration to pursue the return of National Junior College Athletic Association men’s and women’s cross country for the fall of 2021 after a 25-year absence and marking the 40th anniversary of the Roadrunners’ 1981 NJCAA national championship. On Oct. 22, the NJCAA confirmed that SMC had been approved to return to intercollegiate athletics.
Odenwald has already spoken with the current members of the team and several recruits to explain the situation and inform them of SMC’s firm commitment to intercollegiate running. Silenieks has agreed to helping fully with the transition between coaches.
SMC aims to have the new coach in place this May.