FAYETTEVILLE – Chris Bucknam, head coach of the University of Arkansas men’s cross country team, has been named the 2010 South Central Region Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year as announced Wednesday by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA).
The honor marks the second regional recognition for Bucknam who also took home the award during the 2009 season. In his third season as the Razorbacks’ head coach, Bucknam most recently guided Arkansas to the South Central Regional title which secured the team’s spot at the 2010 NCAA Championships. Three Razorback runners finished in the top five to help claim the program’s 31st regional championship and grab its 41st appearance at the national meet.
"I think we’ve done things the right way," Bucknam said. "We have a talented bunch of athletes. As I’ve mentioned before, they’re not one-dimensional athletes. We have kids that run well in the mile and in the 10K. We’ve also been able to rest some guys and that’s a tribute to our depth."
Arkansas’ championship season began with a title run at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships in Columbia, S.C. The conference title was Arkansas’ 18th SEC crown and 35th overall. For his leadership, Bucknam was selected the SEC Men’s Coach of the Year. It marked his first conference cross country accolade and fourth overall (cross country, 2010; indoor track, 2009, 2010; outdoor track, 2009).
Bucknam’s athletes have also turned in impressive results throughout the season and been awarded for their efforts. Six Razorback runners earned all-region recognition while five members of the team were All-SEC performers. In addition, Bryan Cantero, one of those all-conference members, was named the 2010 SEC Male Freshman Runner of the Year.
In the most recent release of the USTFCCCA national poll, Arkansas is No. 9 in the rankings heading into the national championship meet. The Razorbacks reached a season-high spot of No. 6 earlier this season. The team also maintained the top spot in the South Central Region rankings all season.
Arkansas closes out its cross country season with the 2010 NCAA Championships to be run Monday, Nov. 22, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The men’s 10K race is scheduled for an 11:48 a.m. (CT) start and will be streamed live at NCAA.com.