NIU cross country: Adrian Myers fulfills NIU dreams

By Frank Gogola

Illinois native Adrian Myers said he is more than excited to take the reigns as head coach of the cross country program.

Myers will also serve as an assistant track and field coach with the distance runners. Myers replaces Greg Hipp, former cross country coach, who resigned during winter break for a job at Northwestern.

Set to begin his duties at NIU on June 1, Myers has spent the past two seasons serving as the director of operations for men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs with the Purdue Boilermakers.

Myers is from Oregon, Ill., and was a 10-time Illinois All-State track and field athlete at Oregon High School. He became a three-time NCAA Division II All-American at Lewis University as a middle-distance runner.

Q: How does it feel to call yourself a Huskie?

A: It’s an amazing feeling being a product of that area, growing up in that region and supporting NIU football and NIU athletics. For me, it’s really a dream opportunity at this point in my career to be able to do this and come home and lead a program that I followed professionally since I started coaching. I’ve always kept my eye on the program and hoped the opportunity presented itself.

Q: What was it about NIU that you liked and made you want to work here one day?

A: Obviously, I’m a cross country and track and field coach, but I’ve always really idolized the David and Goliath mentality of the football program with them always playing up against major Div. I competition. I’ve wanted to go there and have the same success as a track and cross country coach. Being an Illinois kid, there’s a certain pride of putting a jersey on of a state university and representing where you’re from.

Q: Being from Oregon, Ill., do you see this as a bit of a homecoming?

A: Absolutely, because as soon as the press release went up online my phone was blowing up. Just the support I’ve gotten from hometown families and people I grew up with and coaches in the area, there was a lot of support, and a lot of people respect what I’ve done up to this point in my career. There was a tremendous amount of support just from my home territory. So, it absolutely feels like a homecoming now with being able to become the head coach there.

Q: How did the whole job come about? … Did you apply here or did NIU seek you out?

A: My current boss at Purdue University, she kind of got word that the position was going to open up. I waited for it to post and I applied, and we got the ball rolling from there.

I’ve known [track and field head coach] Connie [Teaberry] for awhile. I was actually on campus interviewing for a grad assistantship with the school of physical education right after I graduated from Lewis [University]. I also met with coach [Mark] McConeghey, who at the time was the head cross country coach, about volunteering as well with the track and cross country program. Ironically, it was the same day as the NIU shooting, and I didn’t even know that was going on until I got back home. Since then I’ve always kept in contact … sending an email to coach Teaberry after a good weekend to say congratulations and glad to see the program’s doing well.

Q: Who did you talk to at NIU and what did you like about it?

A: I got to meet with Mr. [Sean] Frazier. I love his energy. I love his commitment to developing strong athletics and taking it to the next level. I got to meet with Melissa Dawson, who was kind of the lead of the search committee ­­— also a person with great passion, great energy.

Obviously, coach Teaberry and her staff, I was able to spend time with. It was great meeting the athletes. I got to meet with three of the female athletes, and they were tremendous. I was kind of taken off guard how controlling they were right in the interview; they came in very professional, had questions mouth to mouth, put me in the hot seat.

Growing up in the area, I was really familiar with the resources, a lot of the facilities. One of the things that’s really driven me is I truly believe in the Chicagoland area NIU has the best facilities and the best resources to bring in top recruits. For me, that’s a coach’s dream. I’ve always been told from a couple of my mentors to never look for a job that’s somewhere you could not sell. For me, NIU’s a “sell” academically, in regards to facilities and just overall resources and the vision of the program.

Q: What’s something about yourself personally that you’d like to share with the NIU and DeKalb community?

A: We’re a track family. My wife used to be the director of youth programs at USA Track & Field before starting her own business. Now, she does track and field event management and marketing. … My daughter grew up being at track practice every day, traveling to meets. My son’s going to be exposed to it in the same level. It’s a great thing that my family’s at the center of it and we’re all on the same accord. We’re all in belief of doing what we’re passionate about and being successful in it.