UMD hires Laura Harmon as new Head Coach of women’s cross country and track and field

 Harmon officially introduced with Abbey Strong (left) and Josh Berlo (right). Photo by Rebecca Kottke

Harmon officially introduced with Abbey Strong (left) and Josh Berlo (right). Photo by Rebecca Kottke

UMD officially introduced Laura Harmon as the new head coach of the women’s cross country and track and field team.

“[Harmon] is a great leader,” UMD Assistant Athletic Director Abbey Strong said, “and will be a great role model for our female student-athletes both on the playing field and as student-athletes.”

Harmon has been coaching collegiately for the past nine seasons and four programs, most recently at Sierra College in California and Sacramento State University. During her lone season in 2015-16 at Sacramento State, Harmon claimed the Big Sky Indoor Track and Field championship. Harmon has also coached at Texas Christian University (2014-15) and Oregon State University (2011-14).

“We are excited for her to take the program to new heights academically, competitively and socially,” Athletic Director Josh Berlo said.

 Harmon has coached the past three years in California and received a hat as a welcome gift. Photo by Rebecca Kottke

Harmon has coached the past three years in California and received a hat as a welcome gift. Photo by Rebecca Kottke

Harmon noted that she has been impressed with the leadership in the athletic department as well as the support of the community.

In terms of recruiting, Harmon said she is not familiar with the area or the coaches, but that’ll come with time. Harmon said she wants to get more involved with cross country and track and field throughout the state.

“As soon as I can do that,” Harmon said, “I’ll really hit the ground running.”

Harmon said that she wanted to return to a community that was entrenched with its university. That is what drew her to the job.

“I have never been to Duluth, I really fell in love with the community and with the university,” Harmon said.

Harmon also said that she expects the team to be winning national championships in the next two to three years.

“There’s no reason with the strong academics that are here and the kind of student-athlete you can attract to this school that we can’t be doing something like [competing for championships],” Harmon said.

This all comes after previous coach Joanna Warmington resigned due to reports of sexual misconduct towards the student-athletes.

Warmington has said that she is contact with law firms and alleges a variety of NCAA violations, as well as Title IX violations.

Harmon will officially begin her tenure on Nov. 26.