Arizona promotes Olympian Lagat to head cross country coach

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona has promoted two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat to head cross country coach.

Lagat had served as co-interim coach with Doug Keen and Dave Murray after longtime coach James Li retired in November. Murray was the interim coach through the end of 2020-21 cross country season.

Lagat will continue to serve as an assistant track & field coach.

“It is an incredible honor to have one of the world’s all-time great runners lead our storied distance program here at Arizona,” director of track & field and cross country Fred Harvey said in a statement. “Bernard is a true legend in the world of distance running and his knowledge and personality will draw the best runners in the world to the University of Arizona. Historically, we have one of the best distance programs in America, and I believe Bernard will take us to that level.”

Lagat won a pair of 1,500-meter Olympic medals for his native Kenya before changing his national affiliation to the United States. He won the Wanamaker Miler at the Millrose Games eight times and holds six American records.

Lagat became the first man to win the 1,500 and 5,000 meters in the same USA Outdoor Championships in 2006.

Li retired after complaints from several current and former distance runners led to an athletic department investigation.

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