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May 4, 2018

Former Dartmouth College Track & Field Coach Barry Harwick Talks to Us About What He Looks For

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Barry Harwick is the Men’s Track and Field Head Coach at Dartmouth College and has brought huge success to the program. The first ever endowed coaching positions at Dartmouth were men’s and women’s track, so his position has a significant history. Over Harwick’s 26 years of coaching, he has led Dartmouth to win Heptagonal titles in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2006. He has also coached his teams to the NCAA championships in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2013 and 2016. Coach Harwick has retired since this article was published.

To reach such high success, Harwick has solid expectations for his players on and off the track. The most important quality he looks for in recruits is that they have strong academics so that they will be accepted into the school. This means that recruits should have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and an SAT score of 1300 or higher.

Harwick has not only experienced success in coaching, but in his athletic career as well. He took on the role as a captain of the track team, as well as earned All-Ivy honors and ran in two NCAA championships. In his senior year, he won the Harmon Award for distance running and the Palmer Award for contributions to the Dartmouth track program. Thus, he uses his experience to provide advice for recruits going through the recruiting process. Harwick advises recruits to research a coach, school, and their athletic program before contacting a coach. Recruits should look at the team website to evaluate whether they are close to the roster’s level of competition or not.

He also emphasizes that in the recruiting process, it is also essential to get on coaches’ radar. Harwick recommends contacting coaches during the junior year of high school through email. These emails should include specific information on the athlete’s best times and distances, as well as their GPA and SAT/ACT scores. Harwick highly recommends making unofficial visits to campus prior to committing, so student-athletes can ensure that the school and team are a good fit for them.

After graduating Dartmouth in 1977, Harwick then began his coaching career. In 1980, he filled the track and cross country head coaching position at Bentley University, where he led the team to Northeast 10 cross country titles. During his 12 year tenure there, he coached several New England champions, All-America, and Academic All-America runners. Throughout this period, he was named Coach of the Year by the Northeast 10, ECAC, and NCAA District 1. He served as the 1997 head coach of the United States cross country team at the world championships in Turin, Italy. Harwick was also the president of the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association from 2011-13.

The Dartmouth track and field program is a strong one that has had much success in the Ivy League. The team has been Ivy League champions five times in their history, as well as many 2nd and 3rd place finishes. They also boast impressive facilities, with both outdoor training areas and a newly renovated indoor facility (the Leverone Field House). Dartmouth continues to consistently present a highly competitive D1 Men’s track and field team.

Overall, Harwick stresses the importance of academics. In his recruiting process of student-athletes, highlight tapes have some use but are not as important as academic standing. For Harwick, these tapes should also be of competition, not practice. Thus, when student-athletes contact Harwick, they should be sure to include academic numbers and rankings upfront as well as their fast times and statistics.