Mark Connolly, who has provided guidance for the men’s and women’s track and field programs since their ascension to varsity status eight years ago, has been named head coach after serving that role in an interim capacity over the past season.
Connolly, who helped build both programs from the ground up when he began his tenure as an assistant coach back in 2010, becomes the third head coach in school history. He has played a major role in recruiting and coaching six All-Americans, a six-time national champion, and many more New England and Northeast-10 Conference champions over that span while leading both teams to tremendous success as part of a historic 2017-18 campaign.
“Mark has done an outstanding job developing our student-athletes,” stated Director of Athletics Jeremy Gibson. “He is well respected throughout the track and field community and has been instrumental in bringing a series of events to Merrimack’s recently constructed track and stadium.”
“I am very excited and honored to be named head coach of the Merrimack College track and field program,” said Connolly. “I have enjoyed every aspect of being involved with these student-athletes over the past eight years. From the early seasons where our success was measured a bit differently, to now where we have been fortunate to have some incredibly skilled young men and women who have the ability to make noise on a national scale, as well as a wonderful new facility that will only take us to new heights. I am proud to have the opportunity to continue to support the growth and development of so many amazing student-athletes. We have a staff of knowledgeable, experienced coaches and a fantastic strength and conditioning team who work with our student-athletes tirelessly to allow each of them to maximize his or her potential. I can’t wait for what the future has in store for our program!”
During the 2017-18 season, Connolly helped usher in a new era for the program when Merrimack Stadium opened last fall, representing the program’s first home facility that gave the nearly 100 student-athletes between both teams the capability to train and compete on campus. Connolly scheduled and ran the first-ever home meet during the outdoor season, which saw many of the program’s alumni return to campus for a momentous occasion while supporting the current Warriors.
Several Warriors garnered significant individual accolades this past season, headlined by two All-Americans, 10 conference champions and a New England champion. Merrimack also enjoyed top-five team finishes at three out of the four conference championship meets it competed in over the course of the year, as well.
Prior to his arrival at Merrimack, Connolly coached at Lynn English High School, where he focused on sprint and field events. He is a USATF Level 1 Certified coach who has served for six years as coach and clinic instructor in the summer youth program for Merrimack Valley Striders Running Club and Going the Distance.
Connolly is a 1987 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, where he majored in Economics. He holds an MBA from Boston College’s Carroll School of Business. Connolly was a captain of the 1987 Crusaders’ indoor and outdoor track teams and held the Holy Cross school record in the 500 meters for 21 years.
A native of Andover, Massachusetts, Connolly resides in nearby Wilmington with his wife, Becky, and their two children, Joseph and Fiona.