Layne returns to alma mater to lead cross country program

Layne returns to alma mater to lead cross country program

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Huntingdon College President J. Cameron West and athletic director Mike Turk announced the hiring of Ian Layne on Tuesday as the new head coach for men's and women's cross country.

Layne is a 2014 Huntingdon graduate and a former team captain for the Hawks' cross country program. Layne was a member of two Great South Athletic Conference champion teams and one GSAC runner-up team from 2009-2011.

"We are delighted to welcome Coach Ian Layne back to Huntingdon," West said.  "He was part of a terrific group of cross country runners at Huntingdon who competed and won conference championships, were engaged in the life of our college in and out of the classroom and have been loyal and committed alumni of the College.  He brings to Huntingdon great coaching experience along with a tremendous passion for his alma mater."

Layne is scheduled to arrive on campus at the start of May.

"I am looking forward to working with Coach Layne as we continue to build our cross country program," Turk said. "Ian is a family member, and I am thankful that he is coming back home to grow a program that he had a significant hand in as a student-athlete."

This fall will be Huntingdon's second season competing in the USA South Athletic conference. The Hawks restarted the cross country program last season after a four-year hiatus.

"I would like to thank President West and Coach Turk for the opportunity to come back and work at my alma mater," Layne said. "It is a dream situation to come back and be a part of the cross country program that meant so much to me while I was a student-athlete at Huntingdon."

Huntingdon competed in cross country from 2008-2012. As members of the GSAC, the men's and women's programs combined to win five conference titles in the first four seasons.

The men's program won conference titles in 2008, 2010 and 2011, finished as the conference runner-up in 2009 and qualified for the South/Southeast Regional twice.  The men also produced the conference Runner of the Year and Coach of the Year three times, as well as nine all-conference runners and two all-freshman team selections.

On the women's side, Huntingdon captured conference championships in 2009 and 2010, was the conference runner-up in 2008 and 2011 and qualified for the NCAA South/Southeast Regional three times. The women's program produced a three-time conference Runner of the Year, an all-region runner, two-time Coach of the Year, 15 all-conference selections and seven all-freshman runners.  

Layne wants to help the Huntingdon program reach a similar level of success in the USA South.

"Our goals are to compete at the top of the USA South and build a strong distance program," Layne said. "We had success when I was at Huntingdon and I want this program to be able to achieve those same things in the near future. To be able to reach our goals, we need to build the depth of the cross country program and put the student-athletes in a good training program to help them develop into better distance athletes."

Layne comes to Huntingdon after spending two seasons as the head cross country and track and field coach at Emory & Henry College. In his two seasons with the Wasps' cross country program, Layne's men's team set the program's 8K and 5K records and the women's team set the program's 6K and 5K records. The men's team was an USTFCCA All-Academic team both seasons.

Before becoming the head coach at Emory & Henry, Layne spent two seasons as an assistant cross country and track and field coach at Piedmont College. In cross country, he helped guide the Lions to a USA South championship and a conference runner-up finish on the men's side.

During his time at Piedmont, the men's and women's teams earned USTFCCA All-Academic honors and produced 15 all-conference award winners. The Lions' cross country and track and field teams set more than two-dozen school records during his two seasons.

Layne earned his bachelor's degree in religion from Huntingdon. He holds a track and field technical certification from the USTFCCA and has a Level I coaching certification from USA Track and Field.