GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG cross country and track & field coach Linh Nguyen has named Jessica Schmidt and Steven Hassen as assistant coaches, he announced on Monday afternoon.
"I'm extremely happy to have both Jessica and Steven join the staff here at UNCG,” said Nguyen. “What really stood out to me about both throughout the search process was their enthusiasm and intensity. We're working to make our program competitive nationally and these are two young, driven coaches who will help us get there. Each of them has valuable experience competing at the national level and working with athletes who have competed nationally. This experience will be a valuable asset to the student-athletes at UNCG. Both Jessica and Steven are very dynamic and I feel they bring a lot to the table. I'm excited to work with both of them and I'm looking forward to getting the year started."
Schmidt has spent the past two seasons working as a graduate assistant coach at Belmont University.
“I am thrilled to be joining to the Spartan cross country and track programs at a time when both the men’s and women’s team on are on the rise,” said Schmidt. “I’m looking forward to working with Linh and the athletes to take the program to the next level.”
During her two years at Belmont, Schmidt worked with the cross country and track and field teams, while completing her master’s degree in sports management.
As a coach at Belmont, she helped coach the 2008 and 2009 Atlantic Sun individual champion in cross country, as well as the freshman of the year in 2008. Belmont also won the team championship in the Atlantic Sun in 2008.
A distance running specialist, Schmidt helped to develop training and racing strategies for the distance runners. She also played an integral role in recruiting both on and off campus.
A native of Hilliard, Ohio, Schmidt was a successful distance runner for the University of Iowa. As a senior competing for the Hawkeyes, she was a part of the team that placed 10th in the 2007 NCAA National Cross Country Championships and third at the Midwest Regional Championships. On the track, she placed fourth in the 3000m Steeplechase at the Big 10 Conference Championships and 15th at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships.
She was also a member of the cross country team that finished in 16th place at the 2006 NCAA National Cross Country Championships and hold the school record at Iowa in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 10:27.
Prior to attending Iowa, Schmidt was a stand-out runner for Hilliard-Davidson High School and helped her team to an Ohio state team title in 2002.
Hassen comes to UNCG after spending the last two seasons as a volunteer assistant at the University of Florida’
"I feel very fortunate to be at UNCG and to have the opportunity to work with Linh,” said Hassen. “I hope I can take what I have learned from Mike Holloway (Head track & field coach at Florida) and Todd Morgan (Head cross country coach at Florida) and help UNCG continue its tradition of excellence."
Hassen ran for the Gators from 2003 to 2008, racking up records and awards along the way.
Hassen finished his cross country career with five top-10 finishes, including one career victory. He ranks sixth and seventh respectively in the Florida record books for his 8K and 10K times on the UF Golf Course. He was Florida’s top finisher at the 2006 NCAA South Regional Championships and was named All-Southeastern Conference the same year. His 5,000m time also ranks fifth in the indoor track record books.
Hassen also earned All-South Regional three straight seasons (2005-2007) and was on the SEC Academic Honor Roll every year he was a member of the Florida Gators. In 2006 and 2007, he also earned the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Award.
In 2007, Hassen was the third Gator to cross the finish line at the NCAA South Regional Championship, helping to lead the team to a third-place finish. He was the first Gator to finish at the 2006 SEC Championship, the NCAA South Regional and the NCAA Championship, as Florida took second, third and 22nd, respectively. Hassen earned eighth-place finishes at the SEC and Regional Championships, scoring for the Gators and garnering individual honors. In 2005, he scored in six of the seven races for the Gators. He returned from a redshirt 2004 season to finish second at the first race of the season and kept up his consistency, never less than the fourth Gator to finish. His first collegiate victory came as a freshman, winning the Gator Invitational in 2003. He went on to place as one of the top five Florida runners in every meet that season, including the South Regionals where he finished 27th and Gators placed third.
Hassen’s track highlights include two second-place finishes in the 2008 season, at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational and the Pepsi Florida Relays. He also ran a career-best outdoor 5,000m time at the Florida State Relays. In 2007, he collected another second-place victory at the Florida State Relays. Hassen also ran the anchor leg of the winning 4x1,600m relay team at the Pepsi Florida Relays. He scored at the 2006 SEC Indoor Championships with a seventh-place finish in the 5,000m and an NCAA-provisional qualifying time of 14:13.67, a career-best.
Hassen graduated from Florida in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history and then completed his master’s the following year.
Transactions – Named Jessica Schmidt and Steven Hassen assistant cross country/track & field coaches.
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