Conor Holt enters his fourth season at Purdue and serves as the men's and women's cross country and middle/long distance coach. Holt came to Purdue from Oregon State University, where he was an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for the women's distance program from 2005-to-2007.
In his first three years with the program, Holt has guided the Boilermakers' to a wealth of improvements, including a pair of NCAA qualifiers, seven regional track and field qualifiers, two Big Ten medal winners and 11 conference placewinners. Most notably, Caden Shields and Sarah Klaczynski posted breakout performances under Holt, qualifying for NCAA Championship events in the 2009-10 campaign and attacking the Boilermaker record books. Shields became the first Purdue male to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships since 1987, placing 10th at the regional meet and going on to run the sixth-fastest NCAA 10K time by a Boilermaker with his mark of 31:13.8. He also logged the fourth-fastest indoor 5,000-meter run in school history in 2010, posting a time of 14:21.54 at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational.
Klaczynski made huge strides in her final season, and first under Holt's direction, qualifying for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase and shattering the Boilermakers' record in the event with a time of 10:11.17 in the national semifinals. From 2009 to 2010, Klaczynski lowered her personal best by 50.47 seconds (previously 11:01.64), picking up a bronze medal at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships as well.
Other standouts to blossom under Holt have included 2009 graduate Stephen Bach, current volunteer assistant coach Nan Hammel and current Boilermakers Jacob Palmer, Simon Rogers, Ladd Mercer and Alice Feslier Holmes. Bach placed at the Big Ten Championships three times under Holt, scoring in the 600-meter run twice indoors and once in the 800-meter run outdoors. He set the school record in the 600-meter run as a senior, crossing the line in 1:18.36, and also holds the fifth-fastest 1,000-meter run time at Purdue at 2:27.69. Hammel scored in the 800-meter run both indoors and outdoors in her senior season, taking fourth indoors with a top time of 2:08.79 and placing fourth outdoors as well with the fifth-fastest time in school history at 2:07.78.
Palmer, Rogers, Mercer and Feslier Holmes have all made appearances at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship qualifying events over the last two seasons, vastly improving their times and logging some spots on the Purdue all-time lists. Palmer placed at both the indoor and outdoor conference meets in 2010, taking fourth indoors with a mark of 1:51.84 and placing seventh outdoors with a career-best time of 1:49.69. Rogers and Mercer have each earned a spot on the all-time 1,500-meter run list as Rogers posted the third-fastest mark in school history at the 2010 Billy Hayes Invitational, crossing the line in 3:46.41, while Mercer's 2009 time of 3:47.48 is fourth in school history. Mercer also added the No. 4 indoor 1,000-meter run mark at Purdue in 2010, posting a time of 2:26.96 at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational. Like Rogers, Feslier Holmes had a breakout rookie season in 2010, qualifying for both the Big Ten Outdoor Championship finals and NCAA Championship Preliminary Rounds in the 1,500-meter run with her career-best time of 4:26.87.
Holt made a serious impact on the Oregon State women's cross country and track and field programs, building the Beavers' squad from scratch after the teams were reinstated in 2004 after a 16-year absence. Upon his arrival in 2005, Holt mentored Ashley Younce to a fifth-place Pac-10 finish and OSU school record performance of 35:31.23 in the 10,000-meter run. Younce also became the first NCAA West Regional Championship qualifier in school history as she eclipsed the regional standard with a time of 16:47.23 in the 5,000-meter run. Success continued in his second season with the Beavers as he led Lauren Denfield to an OSU record and an NCAA West Regional Championship appearance in the steeplechase. Holt's outstanding recruiting efforts are still a ringing endorsement in Corvallis, as the Beavers' cross country team achieved a No. 28 national ranking in 2008.
Originally from Ireland, Holt was a 3,000-meter junior national champion and a two-time 5,000-meter junior national champ. A member of the Junior World Cross Country Team (1989-91), he participated at the Junior World Track and Field Championships in 1990 and represented his native country at the World University Games in 1993.
A six-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma, Holt holds the school records in the indoor 5,000-meter run and the outdoor 10,000-meter run. He garnered a trio of cross country All-American awards, placing sixth, seventh and 14th at the NCAA Championships. He earned three more national honors in track and field (indoor 5K and outdoor 10K) and took home the Big 8 Championship in the 10K in 1996. He earned his bachelor's degree in music education in 1996.
Holt became a United States citizen in 2002 and followed earning 2003 Oklahoma Runner of the Year accolades and went on to become a 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier. Holt lives in West Lafayette with his wife, Camille, who Holt has coached to "A" Standard qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games with her time of 2:38:23 at the 2009 U.S. Marathon Championships in . She was also selected as the 2008 Indiana USATF Female Long Distance Runner of the Year after finishing as the top American woman at the 2009 Indianapolis Mini Marathon.
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