He Made Stanford a Contender


Leaving Stanford was “gut-wrenching,” says Vin Lananna, director of track and field/cross country for the past 11 years. “It’s a wonderful place, I loved it, and the track and field alums have been particularly outstanding.”

But the former assistant director of athletics at Dartmouth College had been thinking about returning to athletics administration for a number of years. So when the call came from Oberlin College, Lananna accepted. In August he became the Delta Lodge Director of Athletics and a professor of physical education at the 3,000-student liberal arts college in Ohio.

“I kind of see this as a place where I can really determine if athletics administration is more my interest, or coaching—because I’ll do no coaching,” he said in a telephone interview from his new office.

Lananna turned Stanford into a mecca for distance runners and coached previously unranked cross-country to four NCAA championships (three for the men, one for the women). The men’s track team also won its first national title in 66 years in 2000. “From 1996 on, we had a great run,” says the five-time NCAA Coach of the Year. “We were a contender for every championship—we were in the mix.”

It will take some four people to replace Lananna. Andrew Gerard, head men’s track and cross country coach at the College of William and Mary, has been named head men’s cross country coach and assistant men’s track and field coach. Two Stanford associate head coaches and an assistant coach have been promoted to head coaching positions: Edrick Floreal will lead women’s track; Robert Weir will oversee men’s track; and Dena Evans, ’96, MA ’97, will coach women’s cross country.