June 5, 2014
CONWAY - The Coastal Carolina University women's cross country and track & field teams were recognized by the South Carolina General Assembly at the State House on Wednesday. The Chanticleers were presented with a resolution honoring the team for winning the 2013-2014 Big South Conference Triple Crown. In addition, Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Alan Connie, who announced his retirement on May 19, was honored with a resolution honoring his 28-year career.
The resolutions, introduced by Horry County's delegation of representatives and senators, were adopted by the General Assembly on May 22.
The Chanticleer women's cross country and track & field programs achieved one of the more elusive feats in intercollegiate athletics by winning titles in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field to claim the Big South Conference's Triple Crown. It is the fourth Triple Crown won by the Chanticleers since the 2003-2004 season.
The cross country team claimed the first portion of the Triple Crown with a first-place team finish at the 2013 Big South Cross Country Championship. Led by a first-place individual finish by Letitia Saayman, the conference's Runner of the Year, and a second-place overall finish by Kyla van Graan, the conference's Freshman of the Year, the Chanticleers finished 20 points ahead of second-place Liberty.
Next came the women's indoor track team, which repeated at the Big South Championships by once again outdueling Liberty. The Chanticleers outscored the Flames 150-86 during the second and final day to win by 55 points, 203-148. Overall, Coastal won four events in the meet and earned 18 All-Big South honors among 11 different student athletes, led by three-time all-conference members Jessica Gelibert and Christal Green.
The final piece of the Triple Crown came at the 2014 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships where the women won by 39.5 points over second-place Liberty. The Chants were led by Field Performer of the Year Teka Simpson who captured the long jump title, finished second in the high jump, third in the 200m and was part of the championship 4x100m relay team. The women garnered 24 All-Conference awards.
Connie is the only head coach in Coastal Carolina women's cross country/track & field history and has built the program into one of the nation's best. He led the Chanticleers to four Triple Crowns during his tenure, having achieved the feat in 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2008-2009 and 2013-2014.
Connie started the cross country program in 1986 and led the charge to add the outdoor track & field program in 1994 and the indoor program in 1998. During his career, the women's cross country/track & field programs have won a combined 28 Big South titles.
Connie is a 33-time Big South Coach of the Year including 13 recognitions in cross country, 10 in indoor track & field and 10 in outdoor track & field. He was also named the 2004 Southeast Region Coach of the Year for indoor track & field. He was recently named the Big South Coach of the Decade in cross country (1990s and 2000s), in indoor track & field (2000s) and in outdoor track & field (2000s).