The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma will soon add the services of one of the state's most celebrated distance runners to assist with the Drovers' cross country and, newly-added, track and field programs.
Conor Holt has been named associate head coach of cross country and track and field beginning in the fall of 2017. Holt will work alongside current head coach Sid Hudson to build on a rapidly-improving cross country program. The two will also launch the school's first-ever track and field program for men and women beginning spring 2018.
Holt's most recent college coaching experience was a highly successful five-year run as the head coach at Oklahoma City University from 2011-16. Since 2013, he led the Stars to three NAIA men's cross country team championships (2013, 2014, 2015), 69 All-Americans and four individual National Champions.
A three-time NAIA Cross Country Coach of the Year, Holt helped OCU to 31 school records and 28 Academic All-Americans. The women's cross country program also saw improvements, with the team placing sixth at the NAIA championship in 2015, its highest finish in program history.
The OCU track programs were also among the best in NAIA under Holt. In 2016, the men placed second while the women finished ninth in the NAIA Program of the Year standings, which combined the national team results from cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field.
"I would like to thank Sid Hudson, Brisco McPherson and President John Feaver for allowing me the opportunity to return back to college coaching." Holt said. "USAO offers me the perfect balance. The role as associate head coach allows me to continuing my private coaching while helping the current group of USAO athletes improve themselves as runners."
As a private coach, Holt has helped his wife, Camille Herron, become one of the top ultra-distance runners in the world. Herron is a three-time qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, a 20-time marathon winner and a two-time world champion (50K, 100K). She also holds the world record in the 50-mile run.
Prior to his time at Oklahoma City, Holt was an assistant coach at a pair of high-profile Division I programs. From 2007-11, he worked at Purdue University. While in West Lafayette, Holt guided the Boilermakers to eight regional track qualifiers, four Big Ten medal winners and 14 conference place winners. From 2005-07, Holt was an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Oregon State University for the women's cross country and track and field program.
A native of Dublin, Ireland, Holt was a six-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma – three times in cross country and three time in track. He finished in the top 14 in the NCAA Cross Country Championship three times and took home the Big 8 Championship in the 10,000 meters in 1996.
He is a two-time winner of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and holds the course record of 2 hours and 22 minutes set in 2003. Holt became a U.S. citizen in 2002 and qualified for the United States Olympic Trials in the marathon where he finished 18th in 2004. His personal best time is 2 hours and 18 minutes.
Holt is also active in coaching education, serving as the coaching chair for the Oklahoma Association of USA Track & Field and does contract for Glazier Coaching Clinics. He is a USATF Level 3 and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Level 5 endurance certified coach.
"There already are a great number of runners in place here at USAO," Holt said. "I am looking forward to accomplishing great things here and maybe someday hang a few more championship banners in the gym."