Saturday 11/23
NCAA Championship
CC - Women
Friday 11/15
NCAA South Central Regional
CC - Women
Friday 11/01
SEC Championship
CC - Women
Lance Harter
Position: Head Coach
Experience: 23 Years
Phone: 479-575-7457
Email: lharter@uark.edu
CoachBio.Sell.Url=javascript: goToReplayPhotos(208010431)
Harter Photos
Head Coach Lance Harter
Courtesy: Zach Lawson, Athletic Media Relations

    The most successful coach in University of Arkansas and Southeastern Conference women’s cross country and track and field history, Lance Harter is in his 24th year at the helm of the Razorback program. During his tenure, Arkansas has won 21 SEC titles (14 cross country, four indoor track, and three outdoor track) and earned seven NCAA trophies, including four national runner-up awards in cross country. Throughout his 34-year career as a collegiate head coach, Harter has built programs that win.  

   Harter led his cross country teams to 14 league championships in 24 years and racked up an impressive 17 NCAA regional titles, bringing Arkansas to the brink of a national championship with four NCAA runner-up trophies. His student-athletes have earned 25 cross country All-America honors, numerous all-conference and all-regional certificates and collected 13 SEC individual titles.

    While his list of accomplishments as a cross country coach at Arkansas is long, his record as a track coach is just as impressive, with a pair of SEC triple crown championships, three U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) National Coach of the Year honors and 10 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

    Harter’s leadership led the program to its best finish, third, in the Terry Crawford Program of the Year competition hosted by the USTFCCCA.  The 2012-13 Razorbacks placed 18th in cross country, fourth during the indoor track season and eighth outdoors for 30 points in the program that measures the best overall program in the nation based on their NCAA Championship finishes.

    The high water mark to his career at Arkansas, so far, is when his teams won a league-record seven-consecutive SEC titles including a pair of triple crowns (titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same academic year). Harter’s Razorbacks were just the second team in league history to accomplish the task in 1999-2000, then repeated the performance in 2000-01 making them the only squad in the SEC’s 30-year history of women’s cross country and track and field to accomplish the task twice.

    Those banner seasons were not without other accolades outside the SEC titles. During that time period, Harter’s Razorbacks posted school-best finishes at both the NCAA Indoor (third) and Outdoor (fifth) Championships, as he led his teams to five top-six NCAA finishes. On a personal level, Harter was awarded numerous honors including six SEC Coach of the Year Awards, six South Central Region Coach of the Year trophies and the three USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year honors.

    For his numerous achievements at Arkansas, Harter has been honored several times, including his induction into the University of Arkansas’ Hall of Honor in the fall of 2006. His inclusion into the elite club makes him the only active Razorback women’s coach to be enshrined and just the second women’s coach at Arkansas to be included, joining former cross country and track coach and current Executive Associate Athletic Director Bev Lewis.

    He has also seen his named bronzed in the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame, Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame and Cal Poly Hall of Fame.

    Harter’s coaching prowess has been noticed not just by his peers but by national organizations like USA Track & Field who have asked him to coach at several international competitions. He has represented his country five times including the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, where he was an assistant coach. He was also the head coach for the 1999 USA World Championships team and had the pleasure of once again coaching one of his pupils, multi-time U.S. Champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor. His most recent appointment to a national coaching position came in 2003 when he was the head women’s coach for Team USA’s World Cross Country team in Brussels, Belgium.

    Harter is quick to give credit for his success to his student-athletes and assistant coaches, but there is no arguing that with him at the helm the Razorbacks are one of the nation’s elite programs. Harter has won almost as many SEC women’s cross country championships (13) as all other member institutions combined in the history of the SEC (15).

    For his efforts in cross country, Harter has earned 13 SEC Coach of the Year Awards, 14 NCAA Regional Coach of the Year honors and the 1999 NCAA National Coach of the Year Award. In total, he has been awarded the SEC’s Coach of the Year honor 20 times and is the only women’s coach to ever earn awards in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. In track and field, he has been given an NCAA Regional Coach of the Year award 18 times during his career and NCAA National Coach of the Year four times.

    From a team perspective, Harter’s influence on Arkansas cross country and track has been tremendous. He has led both the cross country and indoor track teams to number one national rankings, one of only three number one rankings by any women’s team in Arkansas history (gymnastics). During his career, Harter has brought eight NCAA team trophies back to Fayetteville: four national runner-up awards in cross country, a third place for cross country and a third and two fourth-place finishes for indoor track.

    Harter’s career at Arkansas began in the fall of 1990, and it didn’t take long for him to carry his previous success to the Razorback program. Picking up a Southwest Conference runner-up finish in his first year, he also guided that squad to the first of his 16 regional titles. As good as his team was in year one, it was the 1991 squad that made Arkansas cross country a household name. Leading a strong group of young women into the season, Arkansas took the first of three-consecutive NCAA runner-up trophies and finished the year with just a single loss.

    The 1991 season also brought the Razorbacks into the SEC and it didn’t take long for Arkansas to establish its superiority. The Razorbacks scored 30 points at their first SEC Championship, placing all five scorers in the top nine. The conference title was the first of five consecutive championships, a feat that has only been equaled once since (1998-2002).

    While the end of the millennium raised the bar for the Razorbacks, Harter challenged himself to exceed the lofty expectations heaped upon his team. Since 2001, Harter has guided Arkansas to eight SEC Championships and watched former Razorback athletes win six medals in the Olympic Games. His eye for talent has been his best asset and developing those skills runs a close second. He often likens his coaching style and philosophy to a series of escalators where athletes get on at the ground floor when they arrive as freshmen and get off at the penthouse upon graduation.

    A perfect example was a raw talent from Kendallville, Ind., that Harter groomed first into a conference and national champion then into the greatest female track athlete in SEC history. When Amy Yoder Begley completed her collegiate career with a pair of national titles, she became the all-time leader in SEC history with 15 individual championships, the all-time leader for a female athlete at Arkansas with 15 All-America honors, and only the third track athlete in conference history to become the SEC Athlete of the Year.

    Harter arrived at Arkansas in 1990 after 11 years of building the nation’s top Division II program at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. His teams at Cal Poly-SLO won a Division II record 14 national championships, including eight consecutive cross country and six track and field titles. He was Division II national coach of the year 10 times.

    From the beginning of NCAA Division II Championships in 1981, Harter’s teams controlled the awards ceremonies. The Mustangs finished runner-up the initial season and after that ran off a string of eight straight titles. In track and field, Harter won five NCAA and one AIAW championship. He was inducted into Cal Poly’s Hall of Fame in the fall of 2004.

    Before coaching at Cal Poly-SLO, Harter was the men’s and women’s track and field coach at Smoky Hill High School in Denver, Colo. During his five years with SHHS, his teams won five cross country and five track conference titles. Before SHHS, he was an assistant coach for two years at Colorado State.

    A 1972 graduate of Texas Tech, Harter set several school records as a member of the cross country and track teams. A dean’s list honoree every semester at Tech, he earned his degree in physical education and American history. He earned his master’s in education from Colorado State in 1974, focusing on physiology of exercise. He has completed doctoral hours at both Colorado and Colorado State.

    Harter and his wife, Kim, have five children, Jeff, Meagan, Alison, Kristy and Josh. They also have three grandchildren, Mason, Avila and Parker.

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