Lenoir-Rhyne coach Danny Williamson (left) resigned this week to take a similar position at UNC Asheville. Among his many accolades in his two seasons with the Bears was guiding men's sprinter P.J. Lotharp (right) to back-to-back All-American seasons. Photo courtesy of LRU Athletics 

Lenoir-Rhyne cross-country and track and field coach Danny Williamson has resigned to take a similar position at UNC Asheville, according to a press release from LRU Athletics.

Williamson was hired in June 2017 to lead both the men’s and women’s programs, replacing longtime coach Jason Stewart. During his time with the Bears, Williamson guided the women’s track and field team to its first-ever South Atlantic Conference championship this past April and helped men’s sprinter P.J. Lotharp earn back-to-back NCAA All-American accolades in indoor track and field.

“This is an opportunity for me to get closer to my family and spend more time with them,” Williamson said via the release. “I am so appreciative of my time at Lenoir-Rhyne and I think we laid the foundation for success for years to come. I can say that these past two years have been very rewarding and I am thankful for all the support from the administration.”

Williamson’s other accolades at Lenoir-Rhyne include leading the men’s 4x100-meter relay team to an outdoor national championship appearance this season, and coaching Domtila Kiplagat to the SAC women’s runner of the year award in cross-country as well as a spot in the NCAA national meet in December.

In his first season as head coach, Williamson saw his track squad break more than 80 individual school records. They followed that with 60 broken records this season, a year in which he earned SAC and regional coach of the year honors.

“We want to thank coach Williamson for all he did at Lenoir-Rhyne,” athletic director Kim Pate said via the release. “Danny took our cross-country and track programs to new levels and his teams broke multiple records along the way. We wish him the best in his future and appreciate his effort in building successful programs.”

Prior to coming to Lenoir-Rhyne, Williamson built a storied 30-year career as the men’s and women’s track and cross-country coach at his alma mater, Western Carolina. While with the Catamounts, he won 32 Southern Conference titles and was named SoCon coach of the year 39 times.

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