Rob Kinnunen named cross country coach at his alma mater
Reported by Randy Russon on August 23, 2002 by the
Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Sault Ste. Marie native Rob Kinnunen, an all-American cross country runner at the University of South Dakota in the late 1970s, has been named the men's and women's cross country coach at his alma mater.

"Rob Kinnunen is a welcome addition to our coaching staff," said USD athletic director Kelly Higgins. "He is someone that has achieved as both an outstanding student-athlete while at USD and later as a track and field and cross country coach."

Locally, Kinnunen was a local high school track star at both Bawating and Sir James Dunn in the mid-to-late 1970s.

"It is very exciting to join a program that has such tremendous tradition. I am happy to be back at USD and part of the Coyote cross-country track and field family," said Kinnunen, who had been coaching at Mount Marty College before deciding to return to South Dakota.

Kinnunen was a cross country all-American at South Dakota in 1979. A 1981 graduate of USD, he served as graduate assistant during the 1981-82 season at South Dakota. In 1982, he was named the head men's and women's cross-country coach and women's track and field coach.

In 1984, Kinnunen left coaching to train for the Olympics marathon. He returned to coaching in January of 1985, serving as the head men's and women's cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Augustana College until 1999, winning national and regional coach-of-the-year honours.

Kinnunen returned to USD in 2000, serving as a volunteer assistant before taking the head men's and women's track and field and cross country position at Mount Marty last fall.

"We are pleased that Rob has accepted this opportunity to take over our cross country program. We are confident that he will ease the team through a transition period and help the squad strive toward its goals as one of the best programs in the region," said Higgins.