SIU cross-country coach leaves, interim coach named

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

David Beauchem, SIU cross-country coach and distance coach for the track and field team, left the Salukis at the end of the cross-country season to become the Director of Track and Field Operations at Florida State.

Gary Holda, former track and field coach at Carbondale Community High School and SIU alumnus, will serve as a volunteer interim coach while track and field coach Kathleen Raske searches for a permanent coach. 

Athletic Director Tommy Bell said Beauchem took the job during the Saluki cross-country season but finished the season under contract. 


Beauchem began coaching at SIU, his alma mater, in 2014. He earned his master’s degree at Florida State in 1993 and served as a graduate assistant for the track and field team from 1991-93 with the Seminoles. 

Senior Oscar Medina said the team was told of his contract offer before the season and were informed of the official move right after the season. 

Bell neither confirmed nor denied if Holda is being considered for the position, but said they are pursuing three scenarios. He said the hiring is up to Raske. 

Medina said former SIU distance runner Lucas Cherry will serve as an assistant volunteer coach to Holda who graduated in 2013. 

“He’s a friend for us more than a coach,” he said. “It feels safe knowing he is there.” 

Holda was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference runner in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and was named to the MVC Elite-18 twice. 

Medina said Raske is searching for a coach with a five-year minimum contract, but does not think it will happen during the season. He said junior Brandon Shemonia and himself will try to help the younger runners, like they did for the cross-country season. 


“It wont be a huge change,” Medina said. “We’re blessed to have [Holda and Cherry] here. … it shows how close the SIU family really is.” 

Beauchem was the only remaining coach to serve under Connie Price-Smith after she left SIU for Ole Miss in July and the remainder of the staff followed. He also served as the CCHS track and field coach in 1991. 

The Salukis begin the indoor track and field season Dec. 5 at the Saluki Fast Start at the Recreation Center. 

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @brentmeskeDE