OXFORD, Ohio?Rita Arndt-Molis has been named Miami University head women’s cross country/track and field coach, Director of Athletics Brad Bates announced today (August 8).
Arndt-Molis comes to Miami after a four-year stint at Michigan State University and brings six years of collegiate coaching experience to the post. After serving as the head women’s cross country coach/assistant track and field coach for two years at MSU, Arndt-Molis was promoted in June 2006 to associate head cross country coach for the men’s and women’s program/assistant track and field coach, serving in the position until her hiring at Miami. She was named the Great Lakes Region Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007, while earning Central Collegiate Cross County Coach of the Year honors in 2006.
“Rita Arndt-Molis has excelled in every endeavor she has engaged and her energy, creativity, intellect and enthusiasm will lead Miami’s program toward our collective vision of excellence,” said Bates. “In Rita, we not only have a head coach, but a teacher, communicator, competitor, educator, colleague and representative of this extraordinary university. We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Rita’s talents join the Miami family.”
"Rita is an outstanding leader and role model for student-athletes, and she brings high energy to work every day,” said Michigan State University Director of Athletics Mark Hollis. “Her contributions to our student-athletes and their quest for excellence have been significant. I am grateful for her guidance to our student-athletes and their championship success in competition, the classroom, and as members of our society."
During her time with the Spartans, MSU had top-15 NCAA Championship finishes in cross country in 2007 (5th), 2006 (12th) and 2004 (14th) with the women’s team earning national championship meet appearances from 2004-07 and the men’s team earning an NCAA Championship berth in 2006. Under Arndt-Molis, Michigan State athletes turned in eight All-America, 23 NCAA Great Lakes All-Region and 21 All-Big Ten performances. Additionally, Arndt-Molis mentored one Big Ten cross country champion and a combined five Big Ten runners-up between cross country and track and field. Seven of her athletes also garnered Academic All-America recognition.
“As you float around the country and compete against national-caliber teams, you learn what the championship programs look like. How they act, how they carry themselves, how they handle adversity and what their culture is; creating that championship culture at Miami is my primary objective ... a place where athletes trust themselves, are committed to the process and have a sense of personal responsibility. I envision a RedHawk tradition where everyone involved with the program?from student-athletes to administration?is working toward championships and is unapologetic and relentless in that pursuit,” said Arndt-Molis.
Prior to her time at Michigan State, Arndt-Molis spent two years as an assistant men’s and women’s cross country/track and field coach at the University of South Florida. In just two short years, Arndt-Molis helped the Bulls produce an impressive 43 all-conference athletes, 10 all-region performers and three NCAA qualifiers. She also mentored the first cross country All-American in program history and the first conference men’s individual conference cross country champion. In 2003, she was part of the staff that was recognized as Conference USA Coaching Staff of the Year.
“From my time at South Florida and at Michigan State, I’ve been fortunate to work with competitive cross country and track and field programs that won conference titles and began to earn national recognition, and I’m looking to bring that experience with me to Miami,” said Arndt-Molis.
“I feel lucky to have been associated with the entire Michigan State athletic department,” added Arndt-Molis. “There is truly a family dynamic there which is really special. When I interviewed at Miami, I felt that same sense of support and family from Brad Bates to (associate athletic director) Jennie Gilbert and everyone I talked to on my interview. I have always felt that what we accomplished at MSU with the women's program was a direct result of the school's love and support. It feels amazing as a coach and as an athlete to be able to take risks and try anything and know that you’ve got an unwavering support system behind you. I believe that unique dynamic exists at Miami.”
Arndt-Molis, who spent two years with the Michigan State program as an undergraduate before finishing her career at South Florida, earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from USF in 2001. A native of Saline, Mich., Arndt-Molis was a six-time NCAA qualifier and three-time Academic All-American for the Bulls and set two school records during her time there. In 1998, Arndt-Molis led USF to its first Conference USA title in cross country and first NCAA Championship appearance.
Arndt-Molis, who has a husband, Tim, replaces 24-year head coach Dr. Richard Ceronie who has moved within the department as the director of summer camp services.