Get to know the new Saluki track and field coach

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

There will be a familiar face leading the Saluki track and field teams this year.

Kathleen Raske, a 1990 SIUC graduate, was hired as Director of Track and Field/Cross Country to replace Connie Price-Smith on Aug. 11. Price-Smith was hired as the coach at University of Mississippi on July 21.

Previous Experience: 


2003-2015 Director of Track and Field/Cross Country – Sacramento State

1997-2003 Track and Field Head Coach – Central Michigan University

1992-1997 Assistant Coach – Miami (Ohio) 

1990-1992 Assistant Coach – SIU

Why she came back to coach at SIU:

“I am a born and bred Saluki. This is where I started out as a student-athlete. Connie and I were actually teammates … So I followed the program. When [athletic director] Tommy Bell gave me a call, it was absolutely something I had to look at.”

On her new coaching staff:


“I’m very excited about this staff. We have Connie’s protege J.C. Lambert on throws … David Beauchem didn’t leave so we have a carry-over from previous years and distance runners are taken care of … coach [Terry] VanLaningham has been hired [for jumps]. Coach [Alishea] Usery has been hired [for sprints and hurdles]. I’ve been excited to bring these people into Saluki track and field because they’re quality people and quality coaches.”

Raske’s vision for track and field program:

“First and foremost it’s about building a team atmosphere. In our sport unfortunately, there’s not a huge emphasis on team … I think what’s important to collegiate student-athletes is to have a team experience. Someone’s got to win that team title, and I’m known for building teams. I expect them to be great teammates … hopefully they’ll live that out in action.”

On recruiting in Illinois over California:

“California is a great talent pool, so we didn’t have to go very far there … but you’re in central America here. You’ve got great talent right here. I plan to [recruit] all over, but obviously we need to have a great contingent of Illinois athletes. We had to hit the ground running because we were behind the 8-ball, and we still are.

Differences in program between her time as an athlete and now:

“The crazy part is, when I ran here, I ran and trained in different facilities. So it’s the changes in Saluki athletic facilities. This is a new track and a new throws area,new building, new locker rooms, new football stadium, and the renovations in [SIU] Arena. It’s very much a change, but it’s very exciting the amount of support they give Saluki athletics.”

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SCarleyDE