Craig Penney brought a wealth of experience to the Wittenberg men's and women's cross country and track & field programs when he arrived in August 2006. He led the Tigers in both cross country and track & field until 2015, when he handed over the reins of the track & fieldprogram to his assistant, Paris Hilliard, in order to focus on the distance runners. He will continue to assist with the track & field program.
Penney has led cross country and track teams at six colleges in more than 30 years as a head coach. One of his stops included Wittenberg rival and fellow North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) member College of Wooster. Prior to coming to Wittenberg, Penney was the head cross country coach and an administrative assistant for media relations at Shenandoah University. During his two years at Shenandoah, Penney guided five runners to all-conference honors and led three of those individuals to strong finishes in the NCAA Division III South Region Meet.
Penney has earned conference coach of the year awards 12 times in his career. In 2000, he was named the United States of America Track and Field Mid-East Regional Track and Field Coach of the Year. Beyond Penney's individual accolades, his teams have won 15 conference titles. He has also produced more than 250 all-conference performers, 20 most valuable player awards, 52 National Qualifiers and 32 All-Americans. He has also helped athletes set more than 70 new college records.
At Wittenberg, Penney has led both teams into contention for NCAC titles, including a program-best second-place finish by the Tiger women's cross country team in 2009. Under his tutelage, Mary Pfeifer became just the second Wittenberg cross country runner to reach the NCAA Division III Championships, finishing in the top 100 in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Not only has Penney led his individuals to high levels of competition, his teams have also more than held their own in the classroom. Since arriving at Wittenberg, his teams have repeatedly earned USTFCCCA Division III All-Academic awards. On the men's side, the Tigers have picked up seven straight awards between 2007 and 2013, while the Tiger women claimed awards in six of those same seven years, including a high of 3.57 cumulative grade point average in the 2013 fall semester.
Penney has also been involved in other activities beyond coaching. From April 2003 through July 2004, Penney was the assistant conference planner and programmer for Penn State University Conferences & Institutes. He also has gained experience as a director of seven conference championship events and three NCAA Regional Cross Country Championships. During his time at Shenandoah as an administrative assistant, Penney helped to process media guide advertising and handled media relations responsibilities for postgame interviews. Penney, who was a double major at Edinboro State University, earned his master's degree in sports administration from Ashland University.
Best conference finish: 2nd
Best regional finish: 7th