Gary Edstrom, head coach for Penn State Worthington Scranton's women's and men's cross country teams, and an academic advisor in the campus' Division of Undergraduate Studies, has been named Cross Country Coach of the Year for the fifth time by the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC).
Coach Edstrom was honored for his achievement at a special ceremony at the PSUAC's annual Spring Awards Luncheon earlier this month at University Park.
An active runner, he has a running career spanning nearly 40 years, and has covered distances from the half-mile to the half-marathon. He has also coached teams in all age groups from youth soccer to military sports programs.
In 2007, his women's cross country team at Worthington Scranton won its first PSUAC state title - the first ever for the campus, and then brought home four more consecutive PSUAC championships in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The team also competed in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Championship meets in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, finishing in the top five each year; with second place finishes in 2009 and 2010.
Three of his women runners have earned USCAA All-American honors and eight earned spots on the USCAA All-Academic Cross Country Team.
The men's teams have earned "at-large" bids to nationals by placing second in the conference for the past four years. Several of those runners have earned spots on the USCAA All-Academic Team and one made the 2011-12 PSUAC All-Conference team.
A member of Penn State Worthington Scranton's staff since 2000, Coach Edstrom has received the PSUAC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year award four previous times; in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. He was also the Worthington Scranton recipient for Penn Stater of the Quarter in 2005; and the K. Bruce Sherbine Penn State Proud Award in 2009.
"It's always an honor to be selected for such an award, but I give all the credit to the student athletes that I have the pleasure of coaching," Coach Edstrom said. "They are out there day after day putting in the miles and working hard to improve their performances. I couldn't have accomplished any of this without their dedication and hard work."
Coach Edstrom earned an associate's degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences from Penn State; his bachelor's degree in sociology from Bloomsburg University; a master's degree in adult education from Penn State and a master's degree in exercise science and health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania. He is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) and holds certifications in First Aid, CPR and AED.
He resides in Taylor with his wife Susan and daughters Kelsey and Aubrey.