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Cross Country Staff Bio
Kelly Sullivan
Head Coach
Coach Info:
Position: Head Coach
Experience: 2 Years
Phone: (206) 296-5772

Kelly Sullivan begins his second year as head coach of Seattle University’s cross country and track teams in the fall of 2018. 

In 2018, Seattle U’s track and field team produced incredible results under Sullivan’s tutelage. The men’s team broke 21 personal records and four school records – Matthew Seidel for the 3,000m and 5K, and Eli Boudouris nabbing the top two times for the 3,000m steeplechase. Seidel and Boudouris also won a gold medal for the distance medley at the Indoor WAC Championships, along with teammates Keith Beasley and Lance Slichko. Boudouris, Seidel, and Slichko also finished in the top 10 at the Indoor WAC Championships for the mile run. Seven members of the team garnered Academic All-WAC nominations. The 2018 Seattle U women’s team produced its own impressive resume, with 18 personal records and two school records broken, courtesy of Olivia Stein for the 10K and Michelle Newblom for the 100m hurdles. At the Indoor WAC Championships, Seattle U took gold in the women’s distance medley, with runners Shannan Higgins, Siobhan Rubio, Abby Wachter, and Johanna Erickson competing in the event. Stein won bronze in the 3,000m and 5K, while Rubio also took bronze in the 800m. Kelly’s Redhawks performed well in the Outdoor WAC Championships – Stein won gold in the 10K and silver in the 5K, while Johanna Erickson took bronze for the 3,000m steeplechase. Eleven women on the roster earned Academic All-WAC honors.

In his first year at Seattle U, Sullivan led the 2017 cross country team to both athletic and academic success. The men had two personal records broken, with Matthew Seidel landing himself a spot on the All-WAC First Team. On the women’s side, Sullivan saw two more personal records broken. Runners Olivia Stein and Johanna Erickson were named to the All-WAC Second Team, and the squad as a whole received a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA.

Sullivan served as the head coach of women’s track and field and cross country at Oregon State from 2004 until announcing his retirement from the position in May 2017. He has also coached at Willamette University, Auburn and Clackamas Community College. In more than two decades of coaching, Sullivan has earned 24 conference or regional Coach of the Year honors in cross country and track and field, including the 2002 and 2003 NCAA West Region Track Coach of the Year for men and women.

Sullivan re-established track and field and cross country at Oregon State after a 16-year hiatus. Beginning in 2004 with just a distance program, one coaching position, one full in-state scholarship and no track and field facility, he departed the program with 21 event areas, 18 full scholarships, three coaching positions and a full-time director of operations.

He oversaw every facet of building the program, including fundraising and development of the Whyte Track and Field Center facility, and later re-establishing two-sport men’s football and track and field competitions for indoor and outdoor track and field. Under Sullivan’s guidance, Oregon State football student-athlete Jordan Bishop became the first Beaver, male or female, to earn All-America status when he finished tied for ninth in the high jump at the NCAA Championships in June 2010. 

From 1997-2003, Sullivan served as the head coach at Willamette University where he guided the men's track and field team to a sixth-place finish nationally in 2003, while the men's cross country squad was fifth in 2002. In 2003, his women's cross country team placed eighth nationally – the highest finish in school history – and he guided the Bearcats to their first-ever NWC women's cross country title in 2000. Sullivan mentored 23 Division III All-Americans at Willamette, including individuals who won five national championships. Of Sullivan’s national champions, Nick Symmonds went on to compete for Team USA in the 800m in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Sullivan also oversaw construction and design for a new track facility at Willamette in 1998.

Before coaching the Bearcats, Sullivan was head men's and women's cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Auburn from 1984-96. During that time, Sullivan's 1985 men's team finished 12th at the NCAA Championships, his female athletes broke every Auburn distance record and earned trips to the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 1994 and 1995.

At Auburn, Sullivan coached 36 All-Americans in cross country and track, including 1988 steeplechase Olympian and former American indoor 3,000m record holder Brian Abshire who started with Sullivan at Clackamas CC prior to transferring when Sullivan took the job at Auburn. Sullivan also coached the first female distance All-American in school history. His last two women's teams placed 16th and 13th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, just six years after he took over the women's distance program.

Prior to coaching at Auburn, Sullivan headed the cross country program and was the assistant track and field coach at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Ore., coaching 24 NJCAA All-Americans from 1980-84. His men's cross country teams won four straight Oregon Community College titles and four straight NJCAA West Regional titles. His 1981 and 1983 teams were fourth at the NJCAA Cross Country Nationals while the 1982 team was NJCAA runner-up.

Sullivan was a Team USA Assistant Coach at the 2001 World Track & Field Championships and an Assistant Men's Coach in charge of distance events for the 1994 USA Olympic Festival. From 1992-04, Sullivan served as the USATF Men's Distance Development Chair where he oversaw development of 1500m, 5000m, 10000m, 3000m steeplechase and marathon, and traveled extensively overseas with the USA Emerging Elite Distance team. From 1988-92, Sullivan was an assistant with Men's Development working with the 3000m steeplechase.

A distance runner from 1975-77 at Clackamas Community College and from 1977-1979 at Willamette University, Sullivan was a 1979 NAIA All-American in cross country and the 3000m Steeplechase. He went on to be inducted into the Willamette Hall of Fame as both an athlete and head coach.

Sullivan was inducted into the Clackamas Community College Hall of Fame in December 2014, and into the National Junior College Hall of Fame in 1986.

Sullivan graduated from Neah-Kah-Nie High School in Rockaway Beach, Ore. In 1990, Sullivan was inducted into the Neah-Kah-Nie High Hall of Fame. At Willamette, he earned a B.S. in history and education.