Northwood University Hires New Head Track and Cross Country Coach

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Northwood Names Rick Watkins to Head Track and Cross Country Programs
Head Track and Cross Country Coach, Rick Watkins

Head Track and Cross Country Coach, Rick Watkins

August 15, 2012

CEDAR HILL, Texas –Rick Watkins, who was head track and cross country coach at the University of North Texas for fifteen years, has been named to the same position at Northwood University.  Watkins will be at Northwood’s Texas campus, which is located in Cedar Hill.

At UNT Watkins won five Sun Belt Conference championships.  His teams were represented in the NCAA Championships ten out of the first 13 years Watkins was at the helm of the program.  Under Watkins, Mean Green track or cross country athletes set 104 school records, and he was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year five times.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Rick’s caliber here at Northwood, “said the university’s Athletic Director, Jack Allday.  “As he begins to leave his mark on our program, we know he is going to accomplish big things for our student athletes and our school.”

After graduating from Denton High School, Watkins enrolled at Abilene Christian University, where he graduated with a degree in industrial technology in 1984.  In 1995 he received a master’s degree in public administration from UNT. At Abilene Christian, Watkins helped lead the team to four NAIA and NCAA Division II National Championships.  An All-American high-jumper, he also competed as a decathlete.  At the 1984 Olympics Trials Watkins jumped 7’4 ½ “.  He has twice represented the United States at the International Friendship Games in Tiapei, Taiwan.

“Northwood has a rich history in cross country, and has been making strides in track and field,” Watkins said.  “There’s an opportunity to build an NAIA-leading program here, and it’s something I think we can get done.”

Northwood competes in the NAIA and the Red River Athletic Conference. The school also competes in baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s soccer and golf.  This fall Northwood will begin playing men’s and women’s basketball.

To find out more information about Northwood University’s track and cross country programs contact


Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in eight states with many course delivery options including an online option. The DeVos Graduate School offers day, evening and weekend programming in Michigan, Texas, Florida and Switzerland. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise in Midland, Michigan, specializes in creative thinking and innovation development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.