Aug. 28, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State Director of Athletics Randy Spetman and Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Bob Braman have announced that Karen Harvey, in her second season with the Seminoles, has been named the head coach of the women’s cross country team.
“Karen’s accomplishments as an athlete and now as a coach put her in a class of her own,” Spetman said. “If her first season with Florida State is any indication of what we can expect in the future with this program, then we certainly have a lot to look forward to. She is very deserving of this position.”
In 2007, her first season as an assistant coach on the Florida State staff, Harvey helped the Seminoles produce the highest finish in the program’s history and significantly contributed to a pair of top 15 finishes at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Few coaches, if any, can match the resume Harvey has put together over the last four seasons. On the trails she has produced a trio of top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championship, back-to-back NCAA Regional titles, five All-Americans, two conference champions and a pair of Regional Athletes of the Year. On the track she has coached six All-Americans, including three national champions. Individually, she has been honored with four regional or conference Coach of the Year awards, including ACC and NCAA South Region Women’s Coach of the Year honors in 2007.
Evidence of her coaching acumen came in the first few weeks of the 2007 season as career-best times were dropping across the board. That continued throughout the season and Seminoles made their presence known on a national scale when they vaulted to third in the USTFCCCA poll after an impressive showing at the Pre-NCAA meet.
At the following competition the Seminoles made history for the first time as they won the ACC Championships with Susan Kuijken leading the way with the program’s first individual championship. Two weeks later another milestone was passed as Kuijken once again led Florida State to victory as the team claimed its first NCAA South Regional title behind the sophomore’s dominating victory.
Having achieved a program-best number two national rankings, the Seminoles went into the NCAA Championships looking to get on the podium for the first time. Florida State fulfilled its goal as Kuijken’s third-place finish – the highest individual finish ever – coupled with All-America honors from Barbara Parker earned the team a third-place finish.
Success in the distance events carried over to the track where Kuijken won the 3000m run and sophomore Hannah England captured the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The duo set the ACC and school records in their events and accounted for 20 of the 28 points the team used to take sixth which was its best finish since 1986.
England repeated her success at the Outdoor National Championship, winning the 1500m with an NCAA meet, ACC and school record of 4:06.19. Kuijken also earned All-America honors in the event by taking eighth and their 11 points were 68 percent of the Seminoles’ 12th-place finish.
This summer the veteran coach actually had a “first” in her career. Parker qualified for the Summer Olympic in Beijing as part of the British National Team, giving Harvey her first Olympian. She will take part in the steeplechase at the Games. England also had an Olympic “A” standard, but was not chosen for the British contingency.
In her five years prior to joining Florida State, Harvey turned Illinois into one of the best cross country programs in the country. Her last two seasons, Illinois posted top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships after an eighth-place showing in 2006.
A 1996 graduate of the University of Michigan, Harvey received her B.A. in anthropology. An All-American for the Wolverines in cross country and on the track, Harvey competed from 1991-95, placing 21st at the 1992 NCAA Cross Country Championships, while also earning first team All-Big Ten honors in 1992 and ‘95. In track, Harvey finished eighth in the mile at the 1994 NCAA Indoor Championships and fifth in the 3,000 meters in 1995. She was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree while winning the 1995 Scholar Athlete of the Year award.
Harvey also enjoyed an impressive professional career that included a No. 1 world ranking in the 3000 meter steeplechase in 1998. A nine-time member of Canadian National Teams, (three world cross country teams) Harvey is the former Canadian record holder in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 10:14.27 and finished fifth at the 1998 Goodwill games in the event. In 2000, Harvey was the top Canadian 1500-meter runner after clocking a time of 4:16 at the Boston Indoor Games.
A native of Brantford, Ontario, Harvey is married to four-time NCAA Champion and four-time Olympian Kevin Sullivan who is a volunteer assistant coach with the Seminole track and cross country programs.