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May 27, 2024 9:27 am

Caldwell named head cross country coach

MOUNT OLIVE – With nearly a decade of coaching experience, Chandler Caldwell has been named as the head coach of the University of Mount Olive cross country programs.

Caldwell recently served as head cross country and track and field coach at Louisburg College this previous fall before accepting the position at UMO. He also previously served as a coach for the Athens Drive High School track and field and cross country programs as well as a volunteer coach at Louisburg in 2019-20.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join the UMO family. Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Earl Graves and Associate Head Coach Justin Potter have reputations in the track and field world that are known statewide, so to be able to work with them and the rest of the staff is such a blessing. The cross country and distance track history here at Mount Olive is top-notch,” said Caldwell. “I look forward to continuing that tradition in the years to come. Everywhere I have been as a coach, I focus on keeping my athletes happy, healthy and humble, all while trying to maximize their potential, and that is what I intend to do here. I can already tell this is a special place. I’m so happy to be here and can’t wait to see this program grow even more.”

During his time as head coach at Louisburg, he established several program feats and school records while at the helm. He coached six indoor and eight outdoor national qualifiers, all individual athletes, which was the most in school history. Additionally, he assisted Matthew Bauer to a fourth-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association Nationals in the 1,500 meters. Caldwell managed all recruiting activity for the programs while also being the team’s academic advisor.

“We’re excited to have Chandler join our staff. His experience and passion for the sport impressed me during the interview process,” Graves said. “He has a great sense for identifying talent and developing athletes. Coach Caldwell will be able to build our distance programs to an elite level.”

Before receiving his first collegiate head coaching position, Caldwell served as the cross country and track and field coach at Athens Drive in Raleigh. He assisted with the development of the distance and sprint teams during his stint in 2021. Caldwell coached Noah Valyo to the second-fastest time by a freshman in the 3,200m (9:33), while assisting Krister Sjoblad to a third-place finish in the same event at the 2022 state championship.

As volunteer assistant at Louisburg, he helped with training and recruiting assignments. Before Louisburg, he served as the head coach for cross country and track and field at Forestview High School in Gastonia from 2016-19. Caldwell’s accomplishments included being named a three-time Big South Conference Coach of the Year while coaching more than a dozen athletes to new school records and top 10 times in the state. He also ensured the qualifications and compliance for each program while leading the teams to regional and state championships.

He has previously competed in the Boston Marathon in 2021 and 2022 and competed this year.

Caldwell completed his bachelor’s degree in sport management with a minor in business administration and sports science from N.C. State in 2015.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics