Meaders Steps Down as Track & Field Coach

The Colgate Track & Field and Cross Country teams enter the 2022-23 season with a fresh start. Program director Harold Meaders stepped down from his position to join the Power Five ranks as an assistant coach at Florida State in October 2022. Both Colgate teams experienced exponential growth under Meader’s tutelage, as the men’s track & field team’s eighth-place finish in last year’s Patriot League outdoor championships tied for their best since 2013;  they scored 21 points, their most since 2008. Since 2019, three track & field and cross country student-athletes earned the Athletics Director Leadership Award and two were named Colgate Athletics Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Although a national search for his successor began immediately after his announced departure, the University has named two temporary replacements; Kim Keenan-Kirkpatrick, who will serve as interim cross country head coach, and David Pickett, who will serve as interim track & field head coach.

Returning to collegiate coaching following a lengthy hiatus, Keenen-Kirkpatrick was named Associate Head Cross Country Coach in February of 2022. Success is nothing new to Keenen-Kirkpatrick – she most recently served on the 2021 U.S. Olympic Staff in Tokyo, Japan, where the team collected 26 medals in track & field events. She also oversaw multiple sports programs as the Deputy Director of Athletics at Syracuse University, including the track & cross country teams. In her first year in that role, the Syracuse men’s team won the national championship in cross country as well as an Indoor ACC Championship. Senior Cross Country Captain Zach Williams was confident that Keenen-Kirkpatrick’s history of winning would continue with the Raiders:

“Coach K has been a great addition to the program, especially with her extensive background working for Team USA at multiple world-level competitions, including this year’s world championships.” 

Williams also noted Keenen-Kirkpatrick’s high expectations for not only this season but the future as well: 

“She works tirelessly to coach and recruit to improve us as athletes and to bring in athletes that will be big names in the Patriot League. She has long-term goals of making Colgate cross country and track a big name at the Patriot League and even the national level.” 

Named a men’s and women’s assistant cross country and track coach in December 2020, Pickett has also had a great start to his Colgate career. In his first season with the Raiders, Pickett helped lead both the men’s and women’s teams to second-place finishes at both the Colgate Invitational and the Patriot League Pod Meet. Both teams also had strong showings at the Patriot League Outdoor Championships with two athletes on the women’s team qualifying for the ECAC/IC4A Championships. Prior to working with Colgate, Pickett experienced a four-year stint at North Greenville, where he was voted by his peers as the USTFCCCA Southeast Region Men’s Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year in 2019. Pickett also helped guide his team to six national championship appearances, 17 Conference Carolina titles, 30 program records, and six conference records during his time in South Carolina. 

Senior track and field captain Jonathan David recognized the impact Meader’s departure would have on the program, but is confident that Pickett can continue to help the team grow and succeed:

“Losing coach Meaders after almost three years is a tough blow for our program. Throughout his time at Colgate, he transformed the program, and the results he produced here show that. Our team has gotten better every year and has started to move closer to accomplishing our goals. Having worked closely with coach Meaders as my throws coach over the past few years has been an incredible experience. The knowledge that he has about the sport is unbelievable and it was a pleasure working with him both as a coach and as a person. However, we are in more than capable hands with Coach Pickett, who is incredibly experienced and shares the same visions for the program that Coach Meaders had,” David said. 

David also is optimistic about the team’s immediate success following Meader’s absence.

“Now that it’s been about a month since coach Meaders left, our team is still motivated and striving to compete and accomplish the goals that we have set for ourselves. Coach Latham has also been a great help with the throws and has been able to provide us with guidance in the absence of a throws coach,” David said. “Overall, the coaching changes were unexpected but our team has been resilient, and we continue to improve each and every day.”