Salukis hire new track and field coach

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

SIU Athletic Director Tommy Bell and the SIU Athletic Department named Kathleen Raske the new track and field coach on Tuesday. 

Raske will replace former coach Connie Price-Smith, who accepted the head coaching job at the University of Mississippi two weeks ago. 

Raske, who graduated from SIU in 1990, previously coached at Sacramento State University for 12 seasons. 


As the Hornet’s coach, Raske was the named Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year 16 times, while coaching 15 All-Americans. Raske is the only woman in NCAA history to coach a men’s team to five Division I conference titles in any sport.

Raske competed in the hurdles from 1985 to 1989 at SIU and was a seven-time All-Gateway Conference athlete. She placed 8th in the 100-meter hurdles at the 1989 NCAA outdoor championships. 

She was also named the Most Valuable Player of the Decade by the Gateway Athletic Conference and was inducted into the Saluki Hall of Fame in 1997. 

Raske said she has always been a proud Saluki and had a great experience as a student-athlete at SIU. 

“I started my coaching career 25 years ago at SIU and it has now come full circle,” Raske said in an interview with Saluki Athletics. “I will give my very best to not only continue, but to build upon the great tradition of Saluki track & field (and) cross-country.”

Before Sacramento State, Raske coached at SIU, Miami University and Central Michigan University. 

Raske’s first coaching job was at SIU from 1989 to 1992 where she coached the sprinters, hurdlers and relay teams. During that time, she produced two Missouri Valley Conference champions.


Raske then coached six Mid-American Conference champions at Miami from 1992 to 1997. 

At CMU Raske coached 19 MAC champions, three All-Americans and her athletes set 53 school records. 

In 2002, Raske coached the Chippewas to their first conference championship in school history and was named the MAC Coach of the Year, Great Lakes NCAA Regional Coach of the Year and Central Collegiate Coach of the Year.

While at Sacramento State, Raske coached with her husband Terry VanLaningham, who was in charge of high jumpers and multi-event athletes. 

“My husband and I are excited to put on the Maroon and White, arrive in Carbondale, meet the team and bring home some championships,” Raske said in an interview with Saluki Athletics. 


(1985-1989) SIU Athlete

(1989-1992) SIU Assistant Coach

(1992-1997) Miami University (Ohio) Sprints and Hurdles Coach

(1997) – Inducted in Saluki Hall of Fame 

(1997-2003) Central Michigan University Head Coach of Women’s Track and Field and Cross-Country 

(2004-2014) Sacramento State University Head Coach of Track and Field and Cross-Country 

2006 – Head Women’s Coach (USA) in the quadrangular meet in Birmingham, England vs. Great Britain, China and Russia 

2009 – Team USA head coach at the World University Games 

2012 – Women’s head coach at NACAC Games 


2 Missouri Valley Champions 

8 USATF Junior All-Americans

16 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year 

17 Big Sky Team Championships 

18 All-Americans 

25 Mid-American Conference Champions (19 CMU, 6 Miami)

49 All-League Participants at Central Michigan 

53 School Records at Central Michigan 

151 NCAA National Championship Participants 

191 Big Sky Conference Champions 

483 All-Big Sky Performers