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Cross country, track and field coach Chris Miltenberg leaves Stanford for UNC

Richard C. Ersted/isiphotos.com

After seven years as the director of Stanford’s cross country and track and field programs, former head coach Chris Miltenberg is leaving the Farm to take up the same coaching jobs at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. 

“I am extremely excited to lead Carolina Track and Field/Cross Country into the next era of its great history,” Miltenberg said in a statement released Thursday on UNC’s website. “Carolina is a truly special place unlike any other in the country and the potential for this program is enormous.” 

Since joining Stanford in summer 2012, Miltenberg has coached nine teams to top-five finishes in cross country. In the 2018-19 season, both the men’s and women’s teams placed fifth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. His tenure at Stanford also includes 12 NCAA top-10 performances in track and field.

“Chris has a proven record of building track and field and cross country programs into national contenders, and his dedication to student-athlete success goes well beyond competition,” said UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham. “He knows how to inspire, motivate, teach and lead, and he will be an outstanding addition to our family of champion coaches, our department and our University.”

Most recently, the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named Stanford men’s track and field and cross country the John McDonnell Division I Program of the Year in 2019. The women received the Terry Crawford Division I Program of the Year award in 2018. The two honors are bestowed upon the most successful country and track and field programs in a given year and are calculated based on the school’s finish at the three NCAA Championships.

In 2017 and 2018, Miltenberg led the men’s cross country team to repeat Pac-12 titles, earning him the conference coach of the year award during both seasons. Additionally, he was named the NCAA West Region Coach of the Year in cross country in 2013 and in indoor track and field in 2016 and 2019.

“I knew it would take somewhere very special for me to leave Stanford and in all my conversations with Bubba leading up to this decision, it became clear that Carolina was the place that we could build one of the very best programs in the country with outstanding student-athletes, great support and a clear vision of the road to excellence,” Miltenberg said.

Miltenberg will be stepping into his third head coaching role in the NCAA. Before coming to Stanford, he coached his alma mater, Georgetown, from 2007-2012. In his time there, he led the Hoyas to an NCAA women’s cross country championship in 2011 and was named the 2011 National Coach of the Year. He served as an assistant coach at Columbia from 2004-2007.

The decision comes two weeks after it was announced former UNC head coach Harlis Meaders would not have his contract renewed. Stanford has yet to announce Miltenberg’s replacement.

Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Alejandro Salinas

Alejandro Salinas

Alejandro Salinas '21 is a Managing Editor of Sports. Hailing from Pasadena, CA, he studies computer science and biology as a junior. In his free time he enjoys running, playing with dogs and watching sports. Contact him at asalinas 'at' stanford.edu.