Darren Gauson was named UNM’s Head Coach for Track & Field / Cross Country on June 30, 2023.
Gauson has spent the last eight years as the head coach of the track and field and cross country programs at Bradley University in Illinois. He led the Braves to 10 Missouri Valley cross country titles, six by the men and four by the women, including this past year when Bradley swept both the men’s and women’s titles at the 2022 Missouri Valley Championships. Prior to arriving in Peoria, Gauson was the cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Lamar University, where he guided the Cardinals to back-to-back Southland Conference men’s and women’s cross country titles in 2013 and 2014.
“It’s an incredible honor to join a storied program and become the next head track & field and cross country coach at the University of New Mexico,” said Gauson. “UNM has developed into a championship program and I am excited to build on the tradition established at the school. Albuquerque is a place where athletes dream of coming to train and develop into national champions and Olympians. I want to thank Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez, Deputy Athletic Director David Williams and Senior Woman Administrator Amy Beggin for their faith in me and their desire to continue to elevate the program to new heights. I also want to thank Bradley University for all that they’ve done for me in my career. I can’t wait to get to work at New Mexico and develop high-character student-athletes in the classroom and on the track.”
During his time at Bradley and Lamar, in addition to the 14 team conference titles, Gauson has coached 75 conference champions, 14 conference athletes of the year and 15 conference freshman of the year. He has mentored four All-Americans and six conference outstanding track performers.
A 10-time Missouri Valley Coach of the Year and the 2018 USTFCCCA Midwest Region Men’s Coach of the Year, Gauson build Bradley into a powerhouse. His teams included a record-setting performance by the men’s cross country team in 2019, when the Braves had the top four finishers at the conference meet to set the modern-day Missouri Valley scoring record with 17 points. A year earlier, Bradley qualified for the NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championship for the first time in program history, finishing 24th at the 2018 meet. The Bradley women’s team had the second-lowest score in MVC history in 2017, when it had five runners in the top eight en route to the conference title.
On the track, Gauson coached the first individual outdoor and indoor MVC champions for the BU men in 30 and 34 years, respectively, during the 2016 and 2017 championships. Additionally, the Bradley women won their first distance medley relay crown in school history in 2019. Bradley set school records for points scored at the MVC Indoor and Outdoor Championships by both the men and women over the past five seasons. In 2017, Daniel Gagne became the first BU man to qualify for the NCAA Track and Field Championship in 42 years, where he earned second-team All-America honors in the 1,500m run in 2017. In 2021, Wilma Nielsen became the first Bradley freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championship and finished the campaign as the nation’s third-ranked rookie in the 800m. Earlier this month, Tiana LoStracco earned honorable mention All-America honors as she qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the 1500m.
In addition to success on the course and on the track, Bradley also had success in the classroom under Gauson. He has coached seven Academic All-Americans and 11 MVC Elite 17 Award winners. Bradley has earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors in each of year of his tenure. The men ranked as high as fourth nationally in team GPA (2019 and 2021), while the women peaked at fifth in 2017.
Gauson came to Bradley from Lamar University, where he guided both the Cardinals men’s and women’s cross country programs to consecutive Southland Conference championships in 2013 and 2014. In addition to the championship success of the cross country teams at Lamar, Gauson coached the Cardinals runners to 29 individual Southland Conference championships in cross country and track in just three seasons. Among his star runners, Gauson helped Matt Johnsen to a 33rd-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championship and the first All-America honor for the Cardinals since 1969. Additionally, Sam Stabler posted the second-fastest 5,000m time in the nation in 2015 to go along with Academic All-America honors.
A 2006 graduate of Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a degree in sport and exercise science, Gauson competed two years at Butler University where he was coached by former UNM head coach Joe Franklin. He earned a master’s of science degree in education from Butler in 2008. With the Bulldogs, Gauson earned a Horizon League title in the 1,500m during his final year of eligibility in addition to claiming Scottish national championships in the event in both 2004 and 2005.
Following graduation, Gauson was also an assistant cross country/track and field coach at Butler for four seasons. The Butler men were able to extend their streak of consecutive conference cross country titles to 14 during Gauson’s time in Indianapolis and the team finished 29th at the NCAA Championship during his first season on the coaching staff. Butler boasted four All-Americans overall during his tenure at the school.