Rich Bowman, head coach of the Cornell women’s track and field and cross country program for the past six years and a part of the team for the past 36, will be stepping down from the helm of the team. One of the longest-serving coaches at the University, Bowman will serve in an assistant role for the foreseeable future.
The Sun previously reported that Artie Smith ’96 will be taking over the women’s program this upcoming season, and a Cornell Athletics spokesperson confirmed that Bowman will be taking on a reduced role effective immediately.
“The student-athletes and program alumni have been informed of the change,” the spokesperson said. “A formal announcement can be expected in the next few days.”
The news of Bowman stepping down comes just over a year after he was named director of the entire track and field program in July 2016. Because of the recent promotion, some were surprised by the announcement, and at the current moment, the plans for the position of director this upcoming year are not yet clear, the spokesperson added.
“We are all very happy for him. It definitely seems like he put a lot of thought into the decision,” said sophomore sprinter Abbey Yatsko, who added that the team was surprised by the announcement. “As a member of the sprint/hurdle group, I am excited for him to continue being our coach and offering his expertise.”
Bowman has served the Cornell community for 36 years which have been rich with team and individual accomplishments. In his time on East Hill so far, Bowman has coached 30 women’s teams to Ivy/Heptagonal conference titles and 45 athletes to school records. In 2012 and 2013, he was named the Northeast Region’s Outdoor Division I Coach of the Year and earned Ivy League Coach of the Year in 2016.
Bowman has worked primarily with the sprint-hurdlers and relay teams, helping athletes earn over 150 Ivy and Heptagonal championships. Four teams — 2011 cross country, 2012 outdoor track and field, 2012 cross country, and 2013 outdoor track and field — won Ivy League/Heptagonal championships over the past six seasons. Bowman has also coached the first Ivy teams to ever capture championships at ECAC meets — the 2012 indoor track and field and 2016 outdoor track and field teams.
In its most recent season, his track and field team claimed five All-Academic honors, holding true the team’s desire for success both academically and athletically. At NCAAs this spring, then-junior Taysia Radoslav earned her second All-American honors in the 400m hurdles, and current senior captain Shannon Hugard made her debut on the national stage in the 1500m, earning an All-America honorable mention.
Smith, who has worked alongside Bowman for the past 18 years, will enter his new role after being named associate head coach in February 2014 on top of leading the women’s cross country squad for the past six seasons.
“I feel like I’ve been handed this really valuable, precious gift,” Smith recently told The Sun about his promotion. “I just want to make sure I take good care of it.”
Smith, previously a Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the Northeast Region in 2013, will get his first chance to lead the program in competition when the women’s cross country team travels to New York City on Sept. 8 to compete against Columbia and Brown.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Bowman plans on retiring at the end of the 2017-18 season. In fact, although Cornell Athletics staff confirmed Bowman’s intention to retire to The Sun, he plans to remain after this upcoming season.