Monday, November 29, 2004


MEDFORD Connie Putnam, the architect of the nationally prominent Tufts University men's cross country program, was selected as the 2004 NCAA Division III New England Region Coach of the Year during the team's recent trip to the national championship race in Colfax, Wisconsin. The award is sponsored by the United States Track Coaches Association and Mondo, the leader in track & field surfacing.

For the second straight year, Putnam's Jumbos won the regional cross country "Triple Crown" by racing to victory in the NESCAC, ECAC and NCAA Division III championships in 2004. Putnam's men then earned the program's best-ever finish in school history at the NCAA national championship with a sixth-place effort. Tufts was also sixth at the Open New England Championships featuring area teams from all divisions. The Jumbos were the top Division II/III finisher. Tufts was ranked fifth in the final NCAA Division III poll, released no November 16.

The head coach at Tufts since 1984, Putnam has developed the Jumbos into currently the finest program in New England. The squad has qualified for the NCAA championship race six times during his tenure, and has had either team or individual representation at the meet every year since 1994. The 1996 team was seventh, in 1997 Rod Hemingway placed sixth overall, the 1999 team was ninth, and Nate Brigham was 11th individually in 2002. The 2004 season was the most successful of Putnam's 21years at Tufts. He was also chosen as the NESCAC Co-Coach of the Year.

He was also instrumental in the development of Tufts' home course at the University's Veterinary School in Grafton, Massachusetts. The site has hosted the last two ECAC championship races.