LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – After a nationwide search for the next head coach of its cross-country and track teams, NM State only had to look through its own program to find the right fit for the job.
On Monday afternoon, the NM National Athletics Director announced Joseph rath has been selected as the next head coach of the Aggies’ women’s track and field teams and men’s and women’s cross-country teams.
“As we did when we hired Doug Reynolds, WAC Indoor Track Coach of the Year 2020, our committee has been aggressive in recruiting nationally for this head coach position,” Moccia commented. “We contacted over 100 coaches and had a very strong pipeline of finalists. Once the process was completed, I thought that Joseph rath was the best person to continue our upward trajectory in track and field as well as cross country. He’s been a big part of our recent championship success and I think he has the right plan for success in Las Cruces, NM “
A member of the Aggies coaching staff for over half a decade, Rath takes the helm of all cross-country and track operations at NM State after having been an assistant coach for the program since the start of the 2016-17 academic year.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to be the next head coach of New Mexico State University,” said Rath. “Every morning I am delighted to wake up knowing the staff and team I work with. I cannot thank them enough for all their support and confidence in me. I am incredibly delighted to work with every member of our team. team to achieve our collective goals. We have a lot of things moving, but once we add our Pitch Coach, we’ll have everyone on the bus and ready to plan the details to guide our teams to their highest levels. . “
With Rath by their side, the Aggies enjoyed one of the most memorable successes in the history of their women’s track and field program. The climax came in February 2020 when the Aggies women’s indoor track team won the first WAC indoor track title in the program’s history. In order to hoist the league championship trophy, the Aggies relied heavily on the contributions of Rath’s distance team. On the last day of the meeting, Jess dominguez won a WAC championship in the 3,000-meter race – one of seven WAC titles the Aggies have claimed to help them win the tag team trophy.
In all, the Aggies saw 16 student-athletes advance to the NCAA Division I Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Meet during Rath’s time at Las Cruces. NM State’s women’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs finished first, second or third at the WAC Championships, with Rath also helping to lead the way.
A distance specialist, Rath’s specialty has been overseeing the Aggies’ cross country programs while serving as a coach for the long distance runners on the track team. Under Rath’s eye, Crissey Amberg has qualified twice (2017 and 2019) for the NCAA Division I Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Meet, making her the first – and at this the only day – individual in the history of women’s athletics at NM. State to make the cut for the NCAAs in this event.
On the cross country ski trails, Rath led the Aggies’ women’s team to a 2017 WAC Championship. Running on their home run, the Aggies saw three of their student-athletes – Amberg, Jess dominguez and Julia Yescas – collect All-WAC honors. Rath was named the 2017 WAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year for her work.
Under Rath’s leadership, a total of 16 NM State cross-country racers won All-WAC honors of one sort or another during his tenure.
Rath successfully completed assistant coaching stints at Texas Tech (2013-16) and Morehead State (2011-12) where he helped oversee the cross country and track programs. Along with the Red Raiders, Rath helped their men’s outdoor track team win the 2014 Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field title. He also guided Kennedy Kithuka to a second place finish at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country Championships.
His coaching career began at Butte Community College in 2011 where he was in charge of the track team’s distance team.
A graduate of the University of Southern Oregon (2009), Rath earned a degree in psychology before earning a master’s degree in psychology from Chico State in 2013. As a student-athlete, Rath competed for Southern Oregon and Chico State, helping the first to finish fourth. at the NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Meet in 2008. Rath is married to former Texas track and field star Tech Purity Biwott who set two school records and garnered multiple All-Big 12 citations as well as an All-American laurel during his time on the Red Raiders team. The Raths, along with their son, Soren, reside in Las Cruces.
“I have a ton of people that I have thanked, that I need to thank and that I need to thank even more,” concluded Rath. “A big thank you to the research committee of Mario moccia, James Room, Ed posaski, and Braun cartwright for giving me this opportunity. Coaches Ericksen, Richburg and Murray thank you for your continued mentorship and friendship. Coach Reynolds, thank you for taking my chance and hiring me four years ago to allow me to be one of the luckiest assistant coaches in the country. Thank you for trusting me and preparing me for the role I occupy now. Coach Davis, thank you for your trust, your support and everything I know you will continue to bring as an associate head coach. Finally, family and close friends are extremely important to me, so in private I will thank them each for everything they have helped me with. ”
For full coverage of cross country and NM State Track and Field, visit NMStateSports.com – the official website for Aggie Track and Field – and follow the Aggies on Facebook (NM State Track / XC), Twitter ( @NMStateXCTF) and Instagram (@NMStateXCTF).
What they say about Rath
Doug Reynolds | Assistant Coach (pitching) • Florida State | “Joseph has been a part of the cross country and track and field backbone of NM State for many years, and I know he will be a great leader as a new head coach. He has a broad vision for the continued growth of the program, and limited eye for the specific needs of the NM State as the WAC continues to evolve as a conference. It brings high character and moral integrity to every decision it makes , which makes him the right leader for student-athletes and the right head coach for the State of New Mexico! “
Brent Ericsen | Director of Cross Country and Track and Field • Texas A & M-Corpus Christi | “I’ve known Joe since he was an athlete who competed for me in Oregon. He worked hard to get this opportunity and it will be fun to see where he follows the program over the next few years.”
Jonathan Murray | Cross Country Head Coach & Assistant Track & Field Coach • Texas Tech | “What a great job! There is no one who has trained better to become a head coach. The future is bright for the New Mexico State program. Coach Rath does a tremendous job of developing his athletes and it will be fun to see his impact on the whole team. “
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