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Meet Michigan State’s Newest Dynamo – Associate Head Coach Rita Arndt-Molis

Meet Michigan State’s Newest Dynamo – Associate Head Coach Rita Arndt-Molis

During the changing of the guard for Michigan State University’s cross-country and track & field programs, Rita Arndt-Molis was named Associate Head Coach following Walt Drenth’s appointment as director of the programs.

Arndt-Molis will coach both men and women middle-distance and distance runners in both cross-country and track. She spent her first two years as head coach of the women’s cross-country team and as an assistant coach in track and field.

Her impact was immediate. The 2004 cross-country team was 14th at the NCAA National Championships, led by All-American Danette Doetzel’s 12th place finish. The women were also 3rd at the Great Lakes Regional Championships and tied with Illinois as runners-up in the Big Ten Championships.

Arndt-Molis provided the leadership, encouragement and motivation to lead her runners to success in both competition and in the classroom. Her 2004 cross-country team recorded a team GPA of 3.52 to earn Academic All-American recognition.

The 2005 track team set a school-record 11:29.69 in the distance medley relay and was runner-up at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.

Arndt-Molis guided the 2005 cross-country team to its 5th consecutive trip to the NCAA National Championships where the Spartans were 30th. Before qualifying for the nationals, the team finished 5th at the Great Lakes Regional Championships. The team’s overall 3.61 GPA earned them Academic All-American recognition.

The 2006 track team finished 4th at the Great Lakes Regional Championships with 4 runners-Nicole Bush, Emily Adams, Michelle Rafferty and Aimee Keenan-qualifying for the NCAA National Championships. Bush was 5th in the 3000-meter run at the nationals in a school-record 10:01.04, and she became an All-American with the 5th fastest 3000-meter time in the nation.

Prior to Michigan State, Arndt-Molis spent two seasons as an assistant coach for cross-country and track with the University of South Florida Bulls, where she helped develop 43 all-conference athletes, 10 all-regional performers and 3 NCAA qualifiers.

The personable and energetic Arndt-Molis coached up Christa Benton, South Florida’s first-ever All-American in cross-country, and Andrew Smith, the Bulls’ first conference men’s cross-county champion. In track, the men’s 4×800 relay team set a school record. Arndt-Molis became part of the 2003 Conference USA Coaching Staff of the Year.

Like Walt Drenth, Rita Arndt-Molis had tremendous coaching success prior to ever arriving on the Michigan State University campus.

Arndt-Molis ran for the Spartans’ cross-country and track teams for 2 years before finishing her collegiate career at South Florida, where she became a 6-time NCAA qualifier, 3-time Academic All-American and helped the Bulls’ to their first-ever Conference USA Championship, and first-ever berth to the NCAA Championships in 1998.

In her 5-year cross-country and track & field coaching career, Rita Arndt-Molis has directly helped create:

Sixty All-Conference athletes, 4 individual Conference champions, 1 Conference championship team, 24 All-Regional athletes, 4 Academic All-American teams, 2 Academic All-American individuals, 2 NCAA Cross-Country Championship team qualifiers, 11 NCAA Regional qualifiers, and 3 All-Americans.

You could call Rita Arndt-Molis personable, spunky, energetic, positive or upbeat, but the best name to call her is winner. She is a winner first, last and always, and Michigan State University and its athletes benefit from it every day she is coaching the green and white.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley