Cross Country: Likhite to step down as coach after 11 seasons

Bobby Pillote, Sports Editor

Cross Country

April Likhite is retiring at the end of the month as coach of the Northwestern cross country program, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

Likhite led the team for 11 seasons, from 1998 to 2001 and 2007 to 2015. She said she is leaving to spend more time with her family.

“After much reflection and with a deep appreciation for the opportunities Northwestern has afforded to me, I am looking forward to beginning the next chapter of my life away from college coaching,” Likhite said in a news release.

The Wildcats’ cross country team endured a 10-year absence as a varsity program before Likhite revived it in 1998, and mustered a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships within three years. She also coached former runner Rachel Evjen, who became NU’s first-ever individual qualifier for the NCAA Championships in 2000.

Likhite continued to build the team in her second stint, implementing a spring track season in addition to the usual fall cross country schedule to help develop her athletes. For the first time ever, the Cats competed in the spring season this year with NCAA sponsorship, which allowed for increased travel to more competitive meets.

No announcement has been made about who will replace Likhite. She is the third NU coach to leave during the 2014-15 academic year, joining former women’s swimming and diving coach Jimmy Tierney and former baseball coach Paul Stevens.

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