After 42 years of coaching women's cross-country and track and field athletes, Joe Sweeney announced he plans to retire at the University of St. Thomas at the end of 2021.
Sweeney is the longest tenured current employee in St. Thomas athletics. His 42-year affiliation with women's cross-country is the longest run for a head coach in school history.
He became a Tommies full-time coach in 1980-81, and over the past 15 months, he's led both sports' transition from Division III to D-I as members of the Summit League.
Sweeney's cross-country teams won the 1981 AIAW national crown and followed that with four NCAA team championships in 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987.
"It has been a great ride, and I have enjoyed nothing more than bringing high-achieving student-athletes to St. Thomas and seeing them accomplish amazing things," Sweeney said.
Sweeney's athletes won 28 individual NCAA titles — two in cross country, 26 in track and field. He was named the 1995 National Coach of the Year in track and field and was honored as MIAC Coach of the Year 23 times, most recently last May.
Under Sweeney, St. Thomas teams captured 86 of a possible 115 MIAC team titles contested in cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track.
U volleyball back home
The Gophers volleyball team (9-5, 3-1 Big Ten) will begin a four-match homestand against Northwestern (7-10, 2-4 Big Ten) at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Big Ten Network). Minnesota edged the Wildcats 3-2 on Oct. 2 in Evanston, Ill., rallying to win the final three sets.
The Gophers are coming off a split in its weekend trip to Michigan, losing in five sets to the Wolverines and then winning in four at Michigan State.
Minnesota dropped four spots to No. 12 in this week's AVCA national poll.
• Redshirt senior opposite Stephanie Samedy was named conference co-defensive player of the week. She had double doubles in matches against both Michigan (19 kills, 22 digs) and Michigan State (11 kills, 12 digs). Samedy also had four blocks, three service aces and three assists combined in the two matches.
• Augustana junior outside hitter Maddy Guetter was selected the American Volleyball Coaches Association's Division II national player of the week. The Wabasso, Minn., native helped the Vikings beat Minnesota State Moorhead 3-0 and Northern State 3-2. Her 34 kills in the second match broke the school record.
• Senior forward Blake McLaughlin was named the Big Ten third star of the week after helping the No. 4 Gopher men's hockey program to a weekend sweep over visiting Mercyhurst. The native of Grand Rapids, Minn., had one goal and two assists in Friday's 7-4 win over the Lakers and then had two assists in Saturday's 5-3 finale.
• The Gophers men's golf team finished 10th out of 12 teams in the Purdue Fall Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind., at 26-over 890 after three rounds. Its top golfer was Antoine Sale, tied for 20th at 1-over 217 after a closing even-par 72.
• St. Olaf defensive tackle Jordan Bartholomew and Saint John's linebacker Kyle Kornovich of the MIAC were selected to D3football.com's team of the week. Bartholomew, of Kilkenny, Minn., had five tackles — three for a loss — two sacks, a fumble recovery and a hurry in the Oles' 23-14 win against Carleton. Kornovich, of Rogers, hs seven tackles — two for a loss — two sacks, and his first collegiate interception in the Johnnies' 50-0 win against Augsburg. He also recorded a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.