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December 4, 2009

Heins Named Big Sky Coach of the Year

OGDEN, Utah - Northern Arizona’s Eric Heins has been selected the Big Sky Conference Men and Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year. The league’s head coaches voted on the award.

Heins led the Lumberjacks men’s and women’s teams to Big Sky Championship titles on Nov. 1 in Greeley, Colo. Northern Arizona’s men finished the meet with 19 points, while the women tallied 28. Coach Heins has now won three straight men’s Coach of the Year awards. He previously won the women’s award in 2007.

Lumberjacks David McNeill and Veronica Pohl won the Big Sky individual titles, followed by seven NAU men and five women on the Big Sky All-Conference teams. All-Conference teams consist of the top ten finishers at the Big Sky Championship. Northern Arizona men and women have each won eight Big Sky team titles this decade.

The Northern Arizona men finished fourth in the team standings at the NCAA Championship Nov. 23rd. McNeill led the Lumberjacks finishing 2nd overall with a time of 29:07, while Pohl made her second consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championship after receiving an at-large bid. She covered the 6K course with a time of 20:43 for a 38th place finish.

Heins, who began his coaching career as an assistant in 2000 at Indiana, served as the Lumberjacks assistant under Ron Mann from 2001-03. After a stint with TCU he returned to Northern Arizona in 2007 to head up the cross country program. In the summer of 2009, Heins was promoted to Interim Director of Track and Field and Cross Country after the departure of head coach J.W. Hardy.