DENTON, Tex.- The University of North Texas has announced the hiring of Joan Hansen as the new cross country coach. Hansen comes to North Texas after one year as the Head Women’s Cross Country Coach at the University of Iowa. Prior to coaching at Iowa, Hansen was at Concordia University for four season as the men’s and women’s head coach for cross country and track and field. During her tenure at Concordia, she rebuilt the men’s program into a conference power and built the women’s program into a National Champion, In 1999 she was selected the 1999 Western Region Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year. As a coach Hansen has had three all-Americans in cross country, eight in track, eight academic all-Americans and eight conference champions.
"She will be a great asset to our program," said North Texas Director of Track and Field Rick Watkins. "She has 25 years of world class running experience and I think our kids will benefit from that. She is going to be a big boost to our cross country program".
An exceptional athlete, Hansen did not start running until her sophomore year at the University of Arizona. By the time her collegiate career was over she had established every school distance record from 800 meters through the 5,000 meters and she set the national collegiate record in the 3,000 meters in 1981. She was a seven-time All-American in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. In 1984 Hansen was a member of the United States Olympic team and placed eighth in the inaugural 3,000 meters for women.
Hansen received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Cal. State-Fullerton in May 2001. Hansen and her husband, Rob Lester, have one son, Chase.