With a wealth of success in the distance and cross country programs, Brice Allen was promoted to the position of head men's and women's cross country coach on July 31, 2008. Previously an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for both programs, Allen is in his third season as the head cross country coach, seventh overall as the distance coach for the Cardinals' track and field program.
Since arriving in Louisville in 2004, the distance and cross country programs have made a considerable jump and risen into the nation's elite. Under Allen, the Cardinal men have garnered three Top-25 finishes in the past four years at the NCAA Cross Country Championships after never having previously reached the event. To top it off, Wesley Korir and Cory Thorne earned cross country U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-America honors under Allen's direction, an accomplishment that had not been attained in program history. The Cardinal women, under Allen, have also taken leaps forward in cross country. Notably, Tarah McKay became the first female in program history to earn an individual bid to the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
The numbers alone back up the success. Allen has been critical in the molding and producing of eight All-America distance runners, 21 all-Region distance honorees, nine conference champions and 24 national championship qualifiers. Most impressive, though, was Matt Hughes becoming the first male in program history to win a title in an outdoor event, capturing the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Last season, the Cardinal men won the first three races of the season, while the women took first in squad's first two races. Individually, four captured individual titles, including Thorne's BIG EAST Championships title, a program first. McKay and Thorne earned their fourth all-BIG EAST accolades, while Michael Eaton received his second nod. After placing third at the NCAA Southeast Regional, the nationally ranked Cardinal men's team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, where they placed 23rd. McKay earned her third individual bid to nationals Individually, the Cardinals accumulated multiple honors: Thorne earned All-America accolades with his 20th-place finish at nationals; four earned all-Region accolades: McKay (fourth-straight), Thorne (third), Eaton (third) and Matt Bruce (first).
While the cross country season was deemed to be a success, no accomplishment was greater than Hughes' national title in the steeplechase, where he set the school record, at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Prior to reaching the national championships, the Canadian native reeled off two impressive wins at the league championships, capturing titles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5,000m to earn the Men's Most Outstanding Track Performer honors. Hughes also earned all-region status after winning the steeplechase. During the indoor season, Bruce was victorious in the 3,000m and 5,000m events at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships and was named the Men's Track Athlete of the Meet.
In 2008, the Cardinal women earned their highest finish at the BIG EAST Championships (seventh) and the NCAA Southeast Regional (sixth). McKay earned all-BIG EAST accolades, while garnering all-Region honors along with Emily Borsare. McKay received her second career at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, where she placed 72nd out of 252 competitors, the highest finish in program history. McKay went on to take second at the AGSI Canadian Cross Country Championships, qualifying to represent Canada at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
During the 2008-09 track season, Allen guided Thorne, who was named the 2009 BIG EAST Outdoor Men's Most Outstanding Track Performer, to a victory in the 3,000m steeplechase and the 5,000m event. By winning the 3,000m steeplechase at the NCAA Mideast Regional, Thorne moved on to the national championships and eventually placed seventh to earn outdoor All-America honors.
Similar to the previous year, the 2007-08 track season ended on yet another positive note. Eaton became the Cardinals' second runner to garner All-America honors in a distance event, as he placed 13th overall (sixth among American-born athletes) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000m.
With momentum from a strong 2006 performance, the 2007 cross country season transformed into one of the most historic campaigns in school history, notably on the men's side. Not only did the Cardinal men capture team titles in three-straight races - the women won team titles in the first two races - but the men also collected the first BIG EAST Championships title in program history. Led by all-BIG EAST honoree and runner-up Korir, three other Cardinals received all-league status in Soimo Kiplagat, Thorne and Eaton. The women were led by McKay and Borsare - both received all-league accolades. To further accentuate the men's success, they registered school-best finishes at the NCAA Southeast Regional (second) and the NCAA Championships (ninth). With their individually strong performances, Korir and Thorne earned All-America honors.
In the 2006-07 track season, Allen was instrumental in developing one of the program's finest runners in Korir, who became the school's first All-American in a distance event. Behind a school-record 13:40.47 in the 5,000m, Korir took third amid a talented field of runners. Overall, the men finished seventh at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Under the direction of Allen, the 2006 cross country season became benchmark of success for the Cardinals. Not only did the Cardinal men earn their first collective bid to the national championships, but completed the race with a 15th-place finish. To add to the accomplishments, McKay, only a freshman, received a bid to the national championships. The team also earned its first national ranking during the season - a year in which they garnered two team titles and a third-place finish at the NCAA Southeast Regional.
Prior to Louisville, Allen assisted at Northern Arizona, where he had a hand in guiding the Lumberjacks' men's cross country team to third at the 2003 NCAA Championships and fourth at the 2001 NCAA Championships. He also helped lead the women's cross country team to a ninth-place finish in 2001 and 15th in 2003. On the track side, Allen worked with 2004 NCAA women's steeplechase champion Ida Nilsson. In addition to his on-the-field duties at NAU, Allen managed the program's budget, travel arrangements and worked extensively with recruiting.
The Sugar Grove, Pa., native, Allen competed in cross country and track at Allegheny (Pa.) College, where he was an individual qualifier for the 1999 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Allen earned his bachelor's degree from Allegheny in 2001 and his master's degree from NAU in 2003.
Allen is married to the former Angie Reed from Cincinnati, Ohio.