Aug. 16, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Getting ready to embark on his fifth season with the Army cross country team, head coach Troy Engle announced the hiring of Shannon O’Brien as assistant coach on Thursday. O’Brien, who will also help guide Army’s distance contingent during track season, comes to West Point from Florida State, where she served two years as meet director and graduate manager for the women’s track and field and cross country programs.
“I’m excited to welcome Shannon into our program,” said Engle. “When looking at candidates, she stood out as having the right kind of experience while also having a true passion for the profession of coaching. She is full of energy and enthusiasm and has worked with one of the top distance programs in the country in Florida State.”
At FSU, O’Brien was responsible for designing a training regiment for walk-on athletes as well as conducting daily practices for that contingent. With her guidance, four student-athletes were offered scholarships to run for the perennial national contender program.
“The rich history of the Academy along with the program that Coach Engle has worked so hard to develop made the decision to come to West Point an easy one,” said O’Brien. “I’m excited to get started. I’m completely on board with the direction in which this program is going and the goals we’re striving towards.”
Working alongside FSU head coach Karen Harvey, the women’s cross country team placed second at the NCAAs in 2010 and fourth in 2011, while the track team’s distance unit enjoyed similar success on the regional and national stage.
Prior to her two-year stint with the Seminoles, O’Brien was an assistant coach/coaching intern at Dartmouth College with the Big Green’s track and cross country teams. O’Brien got her first taste of recruiting while in Hanover, N.H., as she worked on arranging official visits and contacted potential student-athletes.
O’Brien also spent her undergraduate years in New Hampshire, receiving a bachelor’s degree in English from Keene State College in 2005. The middle-distance specialist was an All-American for the Owls in the 800 meters, and still maintains her hold on school records in the 500 meters, 400-meter hurdles and 4x400-meter relay.
Following her graduation, she worked at her alma mater as an assistant coach through the summer of 2006.
O’Brien, who received her master’s degree in sport management from Florida State earlier this year, has a USATF Level 1 Certification and has worked for running camps across the country, including Vermont and Oregon.