July 10, 2002
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Tulane University named Heather Van Norman as its head coach for men's and women's cross country and women's track and field, Director of Athletics Rick Dickson announced Tuesday.
Van Norman comes to Tulane after four years as an assistant coach with the Georgia Tech track and field program. She focused on the Yellow Jacket sprints, relays and long hurdles. During that time, Georgia Tech had four top 30 finishes at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, while producing seven individual All-Americans and one All-America relay team.
"We are very fortunate to add Heather Van Norman to the Tulane staff," Dickson said. "She will build upon what Ron Bazil established over the past seven years. Her extensive experience as a student-athlete and her background as a coach at similar institutions made her very attractive to us at Tulane."
"This is a great opportunity for me to work with a strong track program which will continue to prosper, while allowing me to grow as a coach," Van Norman said.
She cited Tulane's location, facilities and high academic standards as draws, noting that the school recruits the same caliber of student-athlete as Georgia Tech and Rice.
Her decision was cemented after meeting some of Tulane's current team members.
"At that point, I was sold," Van Norman said.
Her two years as an assistant coach at Rice were highlighted by her 4x400 relay team winning the 1997 NCAA Indoor Championship.
A 1994 graduate of LSU, Van Norman was a six-time NCAA All-American for the Tigers. She won three national championships for the Tigers in 1993: the indoor 4x400 relay and both the 4x400 and the 4x100 outdoor relays. A key part of three consecutive outdoor national team championships (1991, 1992, 1993) and two indoor titles (1991, 1993) for LSU, she also helped the Tigers to SEC Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 1991 and 1993.
In 1991, she was part of the team that set the American record in the 4x200 relay. In 1992, Van Norman won the SEC indoor title in the 400 meters and competed in the 400 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials in New Orleans.
"Tulane is getting an outstanding person in Heather," Georgia Tech head women's track and field coach Alan Drosky said. "Heather is a quality individual who cares a lot about the kids and the program. She wants them to be successful in all facets, from school and athletics to a personal level."
A member of USA Track & Field and the NCAA Track Coaches Association, Van Norman began her collegiate career at the University of Minnesota where she was named Freshman Track Athlete of the Year. She is a charter member of the Minnesota High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Van Norman takes over for Ron Bazil, who retired after seven years as the Green Wave head coach. In that time, the Green Wave tallied 18 top three finishes in Conference USA cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field championships, including four league championships.