Wendel McRaven, who recently served as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois, fills the distance coaching vacancy of former A&M assistant coach Dan Waters, who was hired as head coach at the University of Alabama.
An assistant coach at Illinois for six years, McRaven also coached at Kent State for nine seasons, which included a five-year stint as head coach of the Golden Flashes’ track and field/cross country programs.
This past season the Illinois men’s track and cross country program rose to their highest levels in recent history. The men’s track team finished 11th in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and during the fall, McRaven’s young cross country squad challenged for a national berth with a fifth-place finish in the NCAA Midwest Regional. McRaven also coached Illinois’ first cross country All-American since 1990 in Trent Hoerr, who finished 16th in the 2007 NCAA Championships.
As a head coach McRaven led Kent State to five Mid-American Conference championships, earning five MAC Coach of the Year honors. Regional coaching honors included the USTFCCCA Great Lakes men’s and women’s Coach of the Year awards. In cross country he guided the women’s team to a first-ever conference team title.
Prior to joining Kent State’s program, McRaven served as an assistant track coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Nebraska from 1994-96. During his time with the Cornhuskers, the men’s and women’s teams won three out of four possible indoor and outdoor conference championships. The 1996 Nebraska men placed second at the NCAA Indoor Championships while the women finished fourth.
Before joining the Nebraska program, McRaven served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama from 1991-94. In 1994 the Alabama women’s track and field team won the indoor and outdoor SEC titles and placed second at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The women’s cross country team qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1993.
A native of Arlington Heights, Illinois, the 43-year-old McRaven graduated from Wheeling High School. Competing for North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, McRaven was part of three NCAA Division III national championship teams and earned Division III All-American honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 1990.
McRaven earned his bachelor’s degree in English from North Central in 1990 and his master’s degree in human performance studies from Alabama in 1993. He is also a USATF Level II certified coach in the endurance events. McRaven's wife is Mary and they have one daughter.