Menlo College to Offer Cross Country and Track in 2015-16, Dan Noel Tapped to Head Program

Menlo College Athletics is set to bolster its varsity sport offerings for the 2015-16 year with the addition of Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track. With the addition of these sports, Menlo brings its total sport offerings to 15 next year.

“Adding cross country and track further aligns our department with the Golden State Athletic Conference [GSAC] and the championship sports they offer,” said Menlo College Director of Athletics Keith Spataro. “The teams in our new conference have seen tremendous success in both of these sports and we look forward to competing with them.”

Heading the Cross Country and Track programs will be veteran coach Dan Noel. Noel comes to Menlo College after a season as an assistant coach at San Francisco State University where he was tasked with training SFSU’s hurdlers. Over the course of the indoor and outdoor season, SFSU’s hurdlers set new school records in both the 60H and 400H, in addition to two top-10 performances in the 100H. They also brought home a conference win in the 400H, and had one national qualifier.

Prior to joining the staff at San Francisco State University, Noel served as the assistant track and cross country coach for Humboldt State University from 2009-11. He oversaw all aspects of the sprints, jumps and hurdles disciplines and helped them to top-10 finishes in the long jump, triple jump, 100m, 200m, 100H, and 400H. In 2012 he structured the weight-training program for Olympian Sonali Merrill in preparation for the London Games.

“I am honored to join a college and athletics department with a reputation as outstanding as Menlo’s, and excited to build on its strong history of excellence in track and cross country,” said Noel. “From the moment I walked on campus, I was struck by the genuine sense of community shared by the students, faculty, and staff. I look forward to contributing to that community, and recruiting athletes eager to thrive in Menlo’s personalized approach to the college experience.”

As a competitor, Dan earned All-CCAA honors in both the 400H and 4x400m relay as a team captain for UC San Diego where he was named the team’s Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Noel earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of California, San Diego in 2007 and went on to earn a Master’s in Kinesiology from Humboldt State University in 2011. He currently resides in Los Altos with his wife Julia.

“We’re excited to have Dan aboard to bring cross country and track back to Menlo College. I expect that his enthusiasm for and knowledge of the sport will help him lead these programs to great things,” said Spataro.

Track and Field has a long and triumphant history at Menlo College and was one of the original four sports sponsored by then Menlo Junior College during the 1929-30 academic year. From then until the early 1990s, 17 different student-athletes have earned a place in the College’s Hall of Fame as a result of their success in the sport and one athlete, Bill Toomey, would go on to win a gold medal in the Decathalon at the 1968 Mexico City games. Fellow Menlo College Hall of Fame member Rink Babka competed for the Oaks during the 1955 season and would go on to win Silver in discus at the 1960 Rome games. Cross Country rejoins Menlo’s varsity sports ranks after a one-year hiatus in 2014-15 and features a history of All-Americans and National Championship qualifying athletes.