MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – When it was announced that Penn State Harrisburg would be adding an intercollegiate men's and women's track & field program that will begin competition during the 2014-15 indoor and outdoor seasons, one of the first orders of business was finding a coach to lead the program. After a summer-long search, Penn State Harrisburg has found that person. On Wednesday, Aug. 7, Athletic Director Rahsaan Carlton announced that Danielle Lynch, a former assistant at Bucknell and Army and a collegiate standout at Rutgers, will take the reins of the men's and women's track & field teams as well as the men's and women's cross country teams beginning this fall.
"With track and field being a new program for us, our goal was to find a coach with a successful coaching background and proven leadership skills that will help to build a solid foundation for the program," said Carlton. "Coach Lynch has an outstanding background and has experienced much success in her previous coaching positions. She is very passionate about coaching and helping students maximize their potential academically and athletically. We think this is a great fit and know that she will be great addition to our staff."
"I am elated to be at the helm of the Penn State Harrisburg track and field and cross country programs," said Lynch when asked about her new position. "I intend to bring my years of experience and best practices with me in order to create a dynamic experience for the student-athletes here. I feel quite prepared and excited to develop this program into a Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) contender that will represent Penn State Harrisburg well. I have already met wonderful community and campus members and look forward to working with them.
"The opportunity to start a program from scratch was hard to pass up. It is exciting to join a school so committed and excited about the addition of track and field and its pairing with the excellent academic reputation of Penn State Harrisburg. Being a community member in the Greater Harrisburg Area for the past six years, I am excited to have the opportunity to scout local talent as well as all those who are interested in joining the Penn State Harrisburg family."
Lynch takes over at Penn State Harrisburg following an eight-year stint as an assistant at Bucknell where she coached the sprinters, middle distance runners and hurdlers under Bison head coach Kevin Donner. Lynch coached over 30 Patriot League champions and 20 of her runners hold school records at Bucknell. Several of her student-athletes were NCAA Regional and Junior National Qualifiers.
"In this day and age of schools cutting programs such as track and field, it is very refreshing to see a school adding this great sport," said Donner. "Penn State Harrisburg could not have hired someone better than Coach Lynch. She was very instrumental in numerous team championships here at Bucknell and her legacy will be remembered on and off the track for many years to come. I believe her experience in a high profile program (at Bucknell) will help her lead the Penn State Harrisburg programs to high levels within the conference as well as the NCAA."
Prior to her time at Bucknell, Lynch spent two years as an assistant at Army. She coached the sprinters and hurdlers and helped the Black Knights men's team win two Patriot League outdoor championships, as well as an IC4A outdoor title.
A hurdling standout and graduate of Rutgers, Lynch competed in the sprints, hurdles and multi events and was named co-captain and MVP of the Scarlet Knights women's team her senior year. She clocked a 400 hurdle time of 58.28 and competed at the NCAA Championships, USATF National Championships and in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Lynch is a charter member of the Alliance for Women's Coaches, a member of the Athletics Diversity Issues Planning Committee, an NCAA Women's Coaching Academy Graduate and the Graduate Chapter President and Undergraduate Advisor of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated, Susquehanna University.
After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Anthropology from Rutgers in 2003, Lynch earned her Masters of Science in Education from Bucknell in 2010. She currently resides in Harrisburg, Pa. with her husband, Tony, her daughter, Olivia, and son, Anthony.