(ATLANTA, Ga.) –The Southern Athletic Association (SAA) has announced the 2012 Cross Country Men's and Women's Coaches of the Year and, after voting conducted by the league's head coaches, Centre head coach Lisa Owens received the Men's Coach of the Year honor and Sewanee head coach Jeff Heitzenrater claimed the Women's Coach of the Year award.
Lisa Owens has been at the helm of the Centre men's cross country program since 1998 and has guided the squad to a myriad of successes including winning the inaugural SAA Men's Cross Country title held at the Choctaw Trails in Clinton, Mississippi in late October. She was named Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (KTCCCA) Coach of the Year in 2011 after taking the Colonels to their first ever NCAA Championship appearance. Additionally, she was named South / Southeast Regional Coach of the Year in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Jeff Heitzenrater has been the head coach of the Sewanee women's cross country squad for the past 12 seasons. He led the Tigers to an impressive second place finish at the 2012 SAA Championships also held on the Choctaw Trails. Under his guidance, the Tiger men's and women's cross country programs have produced 33 NCAA All-Region runners and 7 NCAA National Qualifiers. His teams have excelled in the classroom as well with 16 of his student-athletes earning All-Academic Team status and another 7 who attained the highest honor of Academic All-America.