DEARBORN, Mich. – The University of Michigan-Dearborn Department of Athletics & Recreation is proud to announce that the UM-Dearborn Coach of the Year is Joe Horka.
The award is the first for Horka, who completed his seventh season as the head coach of the men's and women's cross country programs in 2019-20, leading both Wolverine programs to new heights of success in competition, while cultivating an environment of excellence in the classroom.
The UM-Dearborn Coach of the Year honor is awarded annually and is voted on by all head coaches from the 16 Wolverine programs.
"These coaches all know how hard we work and there are so many deserving candidates," Horka said. "To have been selected by those who know what it takes means a lot."
The list of honors for the UM-Dearborn cross country teams in 2019-20 is extensive and includes two WHAC Runner of the Week honors, eight NAIA Scholar-Athletes, three CoSIDA NAIA Academic All-District awards, nine members of the WHAC All-Academic Team, one Chancellor's Award, and two All-WHAC honorees. In addition, both programs were awarded the NAIA Scholar-Team award, while women's cross country earned the UM-Dearborn award for the highest team GPA at 3.425.
Success on the course was higher than ever for UM-Dearborn in 2019-20 with the men's program reaching the NAIA national rankings for the first time, while finishing fifth at the WHAC championship meet. The women were sixth at the WHAC championships, the highest finish in program history.
Horka praised his assistant coaching staff, Quinn Osgood, Ryan Pickell, Megan McDonald, and Miranda Sweeney, for the strides the programs have made in recent years.
"The coaching staff that we have are above anything else the reason for how we are growing," Horka said. "They make up for my weaknesses and the student-athletes lean on them heavily."
The Coach of the Year Award was established in 2015 and is given out annually at the UM-Dearborn All-Sports Banquet. Due to the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, UM-Dearborn was unable to host the event in 2020.