Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2005


MEDFORD Connie Putnam, the head coach of the successful Tufts University men's cross country and track & field programs since 1984, has announced his retirement after 21 seasons with the Jumbos. Ethan Barron, Putnam's assistant for the past three seasons, has been promoted to the interim positions of head coach of cross country and associate head coach of track & field.

Historically one of Tufts' most competitive programs, men's cross country and track & field thrived under Putnam. The cross country team qualified for the NCAA championship race six times in the past seven years and has had team or individual representation at Nationals every year since 1994. The track & field team has sent competitors to the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships every year, including steeplechase national champions Mark Herlihy in 1988 and David Patterson in 2001.

Putnam was also instrumental in the development of the top-notch facilities at Tufts. The "Farm Course" for cross country, the Gantcher Family Sports Center for indoor track and field and the Dussault Track & Field Complex outdoors are among the finest for each season in New England. All three venues hosted numerous regional championship meets during Putnam's tenure.

In what would be his final season with the team last year, Putnam was voted New England Division III and New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Coach of the Year for cross country and the NCAA New England Coach of the Year for indoor track & field.

A 2001 graduate of Middlebury College, Barron was a captain, Academic All-American, school record holder and All-American on the Panther track team. He was a volunteer assistant coach at Middlebury and the head coach at Vergennes High School in Vermont for the 2001-02 academic year prior to coming to Tufts in the Fall 2002. While working primarily with Jumbo sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers, Barron earned his master's degree in educational studies from the University in 2004.

"Connie did a great job building an exceptionally successful program here and I wish him only the best as he transitions into life after Tufts," Athletic Director Bill Gehling said. "Inevitably, the end of one era marks the beginning of another and I have confidence that Ethan Barron is the right person to oversee this transitional year."