GREENWOOD – Kevin Scola, a New Jersey native with nearly a decade of coaching experience at the collegiate level, has been named the new cross country head coach at Lander University, Associate Athletic Director Kevin Pederson announced today.
"Lander's a wonderful school and it's a wonderful opportunity," Scola said. "I can not wait to get involved in the community and help get the program started and moving forward.
"It's been a wonderful experience meeting the athletic department. I'm thankful to coach Pederson and everybody else for giving me this opportunity and I'm looking forward to getting started."
Lander will be fielding a men's cross country team for the first time since 1999 and a women's team for the first time since 2008.
"We're excited to bring cross country back on the mens' and womens' sides at Lander University," Pederson said, "and feel like Kevin Scola is the right guy at the right time to do that. When you talk to him, it's very impressive to hear his résumé and what he did as a Division I runner."
"Running is a family tradition for him. His father was also a coach and a very successful cross country runner and we feel like Kevin's a guy who is going to be able to build our programs the right way, attract the right type of student-athletes and provide those student-athletes with a very well-rounded experience at Lander University."
Scola spent the past three seasons as an assistant men's and women's cross country and track & field coach at Frostburg State University. During his time with the Bobcats, the men's program has captured three event wins, while the women have posted four victories. Prior to his time at Frostburg State, Scola served as a staff member spent three years as a teacher/counselor for Academy Programs in Fairmont, W.Va. Scola began his collegiate coaching career at Rutgers-Newark, where he helped start the men's and women's cross country programs, serving as an assistant coach for four seasons.
Last season, Bobcat runners posted 23 top-10 and 11 top-five finishes, while claiming five team victories. Robert Romano posted a time of 17.16.4 to win the Westmoreland CCC Invitational for the second consecutive season as the men's team won three consecutive events, while the women posted two wins. The men's team placed fifth at the Capital Athletic Conference championships and finished 31st in the NCAA Mideast Regional. The women finished eighth in the CAC championships and 37th at the NCAA Mideast Regional.
In 2015, Frostburg State claimed eight individual top-10 and three top-five finishes. Robert Romano won the Westmoreland CCC Invitational with a time of 15:54 and the men's team claimed a seventh-place finish at the CAC championships and a 32nd-place finish in the NCAA Mideast Regional.
During Scola's first season with the Bobcats, Frostburg State had six individual top-10 finishes, including a pair of top-five finishes. The women's team finished fifth at the CAC championships, while the men's team placed eighth. The men's team placed 38th at the NCAA Mideast Regional, while the women concluded the season with a 40th-place finish.
Prior to Frostburg State, Scola coached for four years at Rutgers-Newark, guiding the men's and women's cross country programs through their first four seasons of existence. During his time with the Scarlet Raiders, Scola coached 20 all-conference athletes, 40 ECAC qualifiers, five conference champions, two NCAA All-Americans and three NCAA Championship qualifiers.
In 2010, Rutgers-Newark's men's team captured its first two team wins in program history, while the women also earned two event victories. The men finished sixth at the New Jersey Athletic Conference championships, behind Tauqeer Qazi's school-record time of 26:51. The Scarlet Raider men also claimed a 34th-place finish in the NCAA Atlantic Regional.
The Rutgers-Newark men finished sixth in the NJAC championships and 29th at the NCAA Atlantic Regional in 2009, while claiming fifth place at the NJAC championships and 27th at the NCAA Atlantic Regional during the 2008 campaign.
Scola helped guide the Scarlet Raider men to a fourth-place finish in just their second event in program history in 2007, as well as a seventh-place finish at the NJAC championships and a 35th-place finish in the NCAA Atlantic Regional.
The Collingswood, New Jersey, also worked at Collingswood High School as an assistant basketball coach in 2007. Scola helped guided the Panthers to a South Jersey Group II runner-up finish and a 22-5 record in boys' basketball.
Scola, who is a USATF Level I certified coach, attended High Point University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in sport management in May 2006. He completed his master's degree in liberal studies from Rutgers-Newark in May 2010. As a member of the cross country team at High Point, Scola led the Panthers to three consecutive Big South Conference championships.