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Date: June 5, 2000


MEDFORD – Branwen Smith-King, who has directed one of the region's best cross country/track & field programs at Tufts University since 1982, has stepped down as head coach to take on an administrative role within the Athletics Department. Kristen Morwick, who has coached at Williams College since 1996, has been named as her replacement. Athletic Director Bill Gehling made the announcements today.

Smith-King leaves coaching in grand style. This past fall she was named NCAA New England Cross Country Coach of the Year, and in the winter she was named NCAA New England Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year. The 1999 cross country team performed above everyone's expectations by qualifying for the NCAA National Championship Race and finishing 11th. The 2000 Indoor team placed seventh overall at the NCAA National Meet.

Smith-King's teams have always been well represented at NCAA Championship Meets. Forty-six women have posted All-American efforts in her 18 years as head coach, including two-time (1999 & 2000) Indoor 800 Meters National Champion Caitlin Murphy, 1996 Indoor 400 Meters National Champion Shawntell Manning, eight-time Indoor and Outdoor National Champion Vera Stenhouse (1989-91) and 1988 Outdoor 3,000 Meters National Champion Nancy Benson.

Her student-athletes have also excelled in class. Recent graduate Cindy Manning is a two-time First Team Academic All-American who will soon begin studies at the Tufts School of Medicine. Hurdler Missy Bargmann earned the university's LT. Commander R.J. Manning Memorial Prize and the Lloyd MacGregor Trefethen Award for excellence in Mechanical Engineering.

"In the beginning, I dreaded telling my team I was leaving because they mean everything to me," Smith-King said. "It's very hard to give up the close relationships I've shared with my teams. Now I'm very much looking forward to the new challenges. I'm not leaving Tufts. My contributions can continue, not only to my team, but to all of our teams and students."

Smith-King received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Springfield College. A native of Bermuda, she was a member of the Bermuda National Track & Field Team from 1971-79 and has competed and coached in the Pan American, Caribbean and British Commonwealth Game. The director of physical education at Tufts since 1987, Smith-King will now focus more on that component along with overseeing intramural and recreational improvements.

"Ultimately, I'd like to develop a program that offers wellness opportunities to our students, faculty and staff," Smith-King said. "Tufts should provide education to people who want to move and be healthy."

"As a coach, Branwen has had a tremendous impact on countless athletes throughout her career," Gehling said. "Her shoes will be hard to fill. I look forward to working closely with Bran to better provide health, fitness and recreational opportunities to the entire Tufts community."

Morwick should make a smooth transition to the Tufts program. She was an assistant coach under Smith-King at Tufts from 1990-96 before moving on to Williams, which like Tufts is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). At Williams she was head coach of women's cross country and an assistant to the men's and women's track & field teams. She gained valuable experience working with exceptional student-atheltes. Her cross country teams went to the NCAA National Championship Race each year (1996-99) and finished third last fall. Twice she was named New England Coach of the Year.

"My time at Williams helped me find new ways to challenge very talented athletes," Morwick said. "I learned how to recruit this type of athlete and I worked with a great staff. The Tufts program is similar, so I'm anxious to apply what I've learned."

Morwick is a 1988 graduate of Dartmouth College, where she was a member of the basketball and track & field teams. She competed as a heptathlete and holds the school record in the high jump. Originally from Bridgewater, Mass., she got her start as an assistant coach at Tufts and is familiar with the current team after seeing them throughout the season. She's also comfortable with the department staff and the city of Boston.

"I've been at Tufts before and enjoyed it," she said. "Bran is a big part of why I want to go back. I'll create my own plan and atmosphere, but I hope to use her as a resource. This is a very exciting time for the Tufts program and I'm looking forward to getting started."

"If anyone can fill Bran's shoes, its Kristen Morwick," Gehling said. "She is a very talented and dedicated young coach whose experience and values are a great fit for Tufts. She will make a great addition to our staff."