Aug. 7, 2009
New Orleans - Heather Van Norman has announced her resignation as the head men's and women's track & field/cross country coach at Tulane University, according to Director of Athletics Rick Dickson. Van Norman is expected to accept the women's assistant sprints and hurdles coach at the University of Tennessee.
"I want to say thank you to the many student-athletes that I was privileged to coach during my time at Tulane University," Van Norman said. "I would also like to express my thanks to the Tulane, Newman, and McGehee communities for embracing my family throughout my seven-year tenure at Tulane. I'm preparing for a new opportunity at the University of Tennessee, but I leave with cherished memories and I wish everyone at Tulane the very best of luck. Always strive for your dreams and goals in life." In her seven years at Tulane, Van Norman led the Green Wave to 16 NCAA National Championship appearances and 44 NCAA Regional appearances, including seven championship appearances by Gloria Asumnu. Asumnu was one of two Green Wave athletes to be named the Conference USA Track and Field Freshman of the Year during Van Norman's tenure, winning the award for the indoor track season in 2004.
In addition, Valencia Wilson received the honor for the outdoor track season in 2006. Tulane student-athletes earned all-conference recognition 144 times and won nine individual championships. In 2007, Van Norman was named Louisiana Sportswriters Association Cross Country Coach of the Year.
This past season, junior Olivia Kizzee continued the tradition of Tulane sprinters by qualified for the NCAA National Championship in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. All told, Tulane student-athletes qualified for the NCAA Regional Championship in seven events.
In addition to the success on the track, Green Wave student-athletes excelled in the classroom with over 70 student-athletes selected to the Conference USA Academic Honor Roll. In 2005, senior Helmi Leppanen was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team, while senior Brianne Darragh was one of 12 Conference USA athletes to win a postgraduate scholarship from the conference.
Van Norman came to Tulane after four years as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech, where 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. She also spent two years as an assistant coach at Rice University, highlighted by her 4x400 relay team winning the 1997 NCAA Indoor Championship.
Dickson indicated a national search for a head men's and women's track & field/cross country coach will commence immediately.