Ellison leads Villanova to first 4x800 title since 1992 and program's 95th title overall
Marcus O'Sullivan enters his eighth year as the Director of Villanova Track & Field and head coach to the men's cross country and track & field programs. O'Sullivan established himself as one of `Nova's all-time great distance runners during his collegiate career (1980-84) and since taking the helm of the program, has returned the Wildcats to prominence on the conference and national scenes.
Many of the individuals and teams O'Sullivan has coached have become accomplished on all levels--national, regional and local. O'Sullivan has guided his athletes to six NCAA individual championships, two NCAA relay titles, two BIG EAST titles, and his 2002 indoor track team earned a fifth place finish at the NCAA Championships. He has coached 19 athletes to 43 All-American honors and 12 athletes to 53 All-BIG EAST honors. O'Sullivan has also guided athletes to nine national championships and 40 BIG EAST titles.
O'Sullivan himself has earned recognition on the national and conference levels. In 1998 the NCAA bestowed the honor of National Cross Country Coach of the Year on him. He is a four-time (1998, 2001, '02, and '03) Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year, and O'Sullivan earned BIG EAST Coach of the Year distinction in 2002.
Last season Bobby Curtis led the way for a youthful men's cross country team. He won the program's second consecutive BIG EAST individual title and finished 15th at the NCAA Championships.
The men's track & field team turned in solid performances during the indoor and outdoor seasons. The Wildcat 4x800m relay team won the indoor BIG EAST title. Senior Ryan Hayden and sophomore Drew Eckman led the charge for the individual runners. Hayden won a BIG EAST championship in the 800m outdoors, and Eckman took home a conference title in the 400m hurdles outdoors. Hayden and Eckman joined Kippy Keino, Robert McDade, and Mike Kerrigan in qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Regional Championships. McDade had a number of stellar performances outdoors, including a school record in the discus. The distance medley relay team turned in a time of 9:35 at the Penn Relays.
Coach O'Sullivan also extends his expertise to athletes outside of the collegiate ranks. He currently coaches three former Villanovans who are competing on the international level. Carmen Douma-Hussar (Villanova, '00) won a silver medal at the World Indoor Championships in the 1500m in 2004 and was a finalist in the event at both the 2004 Olympics and 2005 Outdoor World Championships. Adrian Blincoe (Villanova, '03) recently set a PR of 3:35.50 in the 1500m at the Rieti Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy. He was also a semi-finalist in the event at the World Outdoor Championships. In addition, O'Sullivan guides the post-collegiate career of Ryan Hayden (Villanova, '05). Hayden is a former two-time NCAA champion who was a finalist in the 1500m at the 2005 World University Games held in Izmir, Turkey. O'Sullivan previously coached former American record-holder Bob Kennedy to a personal best in the 10,000m.
As an athlete, O'Sullivan is a four-time Olympian, three-time World Indoor champion in the 1500m, and previously held the world records for the indoor 1500m and the 4x1 mile relay. His professional career, which has spanned 15 years, includes medals at the Goodwill Games, the European Championships, the World Championships and the U.S. Championships. He has the distinction of being one of three men to run more than 100 sub-4:00 minute miles.
O'Sullivan graduated from Villanova in 1984 with a degree in accounting and went on to earn his MBA from Villanova in 1989. After passing the CPA exam, he served as a part-time faculty member of the Villanova marketing department from 1992-93. On September 18, 2004, Coach O'Sullivan joined 22 other men's track & field legends on the Wall of Fame. `Nova honored him with a plaque in the shape of a winged track shoe, bearing his name, that is permanently displayed on the wall of the Pavilion next to the scoreboard in the west end of the stadium. O'Sullivan's wife, the former Mary Spinks, earned a nursing degree from Villanova in 1986. The couple has two children: Laura (17) and Christopher (14).