June 26, 2008
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-A highly-decorated coach who has spent his entire career in Southeastern Massachusetts is the new head track and field coach at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Steve Gardiner, who has coached track and field for the last 33 years, will succeed Jon Hird as head track and field coach. Hird, who served as the interim head track and field coach last season and was the head cross country and track and field coach at UMass Dartmouth from 1988 through 206, will remain on staff as head cross country coach, while assisting Gardiner with the track and field program and serving as the Academic Coordinator for the athletic department.
A 1974 UMass Dartmouth graduate when the university was known as Southeastern Massachusetts University, Gardiner has served as head boys' cross country and track and field coach and as both an assistant and the head girls' coach at New Bedford High School since joining the Whalers in 1978. A member of the Massachusetts Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2000) and the UMass Dartmouth Athletic Hall of Fame (2003), Gardiner was named Massachusetts Coach of the Year by the Boston Globe in 1980, 1989 and 1993, was named to the Runner's World Coaching All-Star Team in 1984, and was the District 1 (New York, New Jersey and New England) Coach of the Year and a finalist for national honors in 1996. He has led his teams to five All-State outdoor track and field championships, six Class A team championships, a New England team championship and an Eastern Massachusetts Division I cross country title. Six of his relay teams have claimed state titles, and he has coached three high school All-Americans, nine New England champions, and numerous individual state and division champions. His teams also earned more awards for academic excellence than any other NBHS team.
A distance runner and cross country participant while an undergraduate, Gardiner began his coaching career as an assistant at New Bedford HS for one season before taking the reins at Apponequet High School for the next two years. He joined the Whalers' staff for good in 1978. A member of the Massachusetts State Track Coaches' Association and USA Track and Field, Gardiner earned his Level II Certification at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO in 1990.
"I am looking forward to the opportunity to lead the UMass Dartmouth track and field program," said Gardiner. "After having competed here under Coach Bob Dowd, I always wished that some day, I would be able to return to my alma mater as its head coach. It is an exciting time at UMass Dartmouth, and I am very fortunate to be here at this time in my life. I am excited for school to resume in September, and to officially begin the process of developing a championship track and field program at this outstanding institution."
"Coaches like Steve Gardiner do not become available very often," said UMass Dartmouth Director of Athletics Ian Day. "Steve's accomplishments are legendary, and I have no doubt that he will continue his extraordinary career with great success at UMass Dartmouth. We are extremely excited about his joining the Corsair coaching staff."
Day praised Hird, who served as the interim head coach last season after Devlyn Lovell resigned. "I would like to thank Jon Hird for stepping in as the interim coach this past year," said Day. "It was appreciated, especially at a time when our program needed someone with Jon's experience and character."