MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- Mary Waechter has been named head coach of Penn State Harrisburg’s men’s and women’s cross country teams beginning this fall.  Waechter brings a passion for the sport and plenty of experience to Middletown where she will look to build the Lions into North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) title contenders.

Her unique coaching philosophy is founded upon the belief that hard work pays off, as well as the idea that there is always more to achieve.

“I believe that a coaching philosophy should be dynamic and should constantly be adjusted and refined,” Waechter said.  “Coaches and athletes should work hard to ensure that their strategies and goals remain important, effective and relevant for everyone involved.”

Waechter expressed her desire to see her team succeed academically, and she wants to do whatever she can to help her runners meet their goals in the classroom.

“The foundation of my current coaching philosophy has two basic components,” she said.  “First, I believe it is important to regard team members not only as individuals but as student-athletes first and foremost. In order to succeed, I believe it is critical that coaches and athletes work together to foster the best athletic experience possible without sacrificing academic integrity, character or additional individual achievements.”

A former student-athlete herself, Waechter also pointed out that life goes on once a runner’s collegiate years are over.  She expects to have a role in helping her squad prepare for life after Penn State Harrisburg.

“Secondly, it is important to me to be able to provide an atmosphere for positive progression and success,” she said.  “This approach lends itself to a balanced focus, where ample attention is given not only to developing runners for success and improvement in competition, personal fitness, and training, but also to promote growth in academics, daily life, and future career paths. While there are many ways to get results, it is the job of the coach and athlete to work together, utilizing input and proactivity, in determining the most optimal strategy for both individual and team success.”