Jim Hurt is in his 27th year as the head coach of the St. John’s cross country and track & field teams, and in his 34th season overall with the Red Storm.
Since becoming head coach in 1988, Hurt’s teams have made an impact at the national, regional and conference levels. His squads have appeared in NCAA Championships for 25 consecutive years and in 16 USA National Championships while winning 23 Metropolitan Conference titles. Under Hurt’s leadership, Red Storm teams finished second at the 1996 IC4A Championships, second at the 1989 and 1996 ECAC Indoor Championships and second at the 1993 Cross Country ECAC Championship. The Red Storm has finished as the runner-up at four BIG EAST Championships.
Hurt’s student-athletes have excelled in the classroom as well as in the athletic arena. This past year, three members of the St. John’s track & field program were named as individuals to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team for the 2014-15 academic year (Pariis Garcia, Stephanie Van Pelt, Izzi Batt-Doyle). Additionally, the entire Red Storm squad has been recognized as an USTFCCCA All-Academic Team after posting a 3.21 team grade-point average meeting the USTFCCCA's requirement of a 3.00 cumulative GPA for All-Academic Team status. Following the 2014-15 academic year, 23 St. John’s track & field/cross country student athletes were announced as members of the BIG EAST All-Academic Team.
Former sprinter Rikka Lovely was named a 2013-14 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award winner, only one year after becoming the second of Hurt’s athletes to receive the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Award along with cross-country team member Nicole Cocozza, who was bestowed the honor in 2012. Lovely was also one of four Red Storm student-athletes to earn USTFCCCA All-Academic honors for the 2013-14 academic year, joining Danette Hinton, Claire Mooney and Shayna Presley in receiving the recognition, while 17 total team members were selected to the 2013-14 BIG EAST All-Academic Team. Additionally, the Red Storm cross country team in 2014 was among 1,049 Division I sports teams to be recognized by the NCAA for their exceptional work in the classroom as part of the NCAA’s Academic Performance Program, as Hurt’s group posted a perfect APR score of 1,000. In 2013, cross-country stand out Lori Dougherty, Class of ’11, received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship Honor Award. Previously, distance runner and 3,000-meter NCAA All-American Christian Fogarazzo won NCAA and BIG EAST postgraduate scholarships, while Georgina Bendana and Te-Mika Warner, the latter who went on to attend Harvard Law School, also won BIG EAST postgraduate scholarships in recent years. In 2010-11, the Red Storm track & field team recorded the fourth highest GPA in the nation among Division I programs to qualify them for USTFCCA Academic All-American honors. The cross country team also earned USTFCCA All-American recognition for the 7th straight year in 2012.
Under Hurt’s leadership, St. John’s athletes & coaches have competed in every major track & field competition in the world including the Olympic Games in 2012 (London), 2004 (Athens), 2000 (Sydney) and 1996 (Atlanta), World Championships in Sweden, Japan, Ireland, Poland, Canada, Spain and the United States, Pan American Games in Canada and Argentina, the World Student Games in Spain, and the Caribbean Games in Barbados and Guatemala. Red Storm athletes have won 18 individual national titles since 1988, producing 12 USA champions, two Irish national champions, a Jamaican national champion, a Dominican Republic national champion and a Caribbean champion. Since 1991, Hurt’s teams have earned 19 NCAA All-America honors and had 17 individuals compete in the Olympic trials. At the end of the 2012-13 outdoor track season, current senior Claire Mooney was rewarded for a breakout year of competition by being selected by her native Ireland to compete in the European Athletics Team Championships in Dublin, Ireland.
Led by Coach Hurt, St. John’s track & field and cross country programs achieved success on many levels during the 2013-14 season. In the fall, a young and upcoming Red Storm cross country team sprang into action as co-host of the SJU-Hofstra Fall XC Festival on the University’s pristine Oakdale, N.Y. campus, and, on Nov. 2, saw a group of seven sophomores gain valuable experience at the 2013 BIG EAST Cross Country Championship in Somers, Wis. Two of those sophomores, twin sisters Stephanie and Michelle Van Pelt, marked the final day of the season by posting top-10 finishes in the Coaches’ Association 5K race at the 29th ECAC Championships at famed Van Cortlandt Park. The indoor season saw St. John’s reach new heights, starting at the Metropolitan Championships, where the team crowned three individual champions and scored 104 points in a runner-up team finish. In early February, five Red Storm student-athletes competed at the world famous Millrose Games, and, the following weekend, St. John’s enjoyed a historic weekend at the BIG EAST Championship, winning four conference crowns and scoring 100 team points in a fourth-place finish. Claire Mooney (500-meters), Danette Hinton (weight throw), Rikka Lovely (60-meters) and the Red Storm’s 4x400-meter relay team all came away as BIG EAST champions in a memorable performance at the New Balance Armory Track & Field Center in New York City, with another three St. John’s competitors earning All-BIG EAST finishes. Mooney then capped an unforgettable indoor campaign by defending her 500-meter crown at the ECAC Championships, becoming the first St. John’s student-athlete to win two ECAC indoor titles in the same event.
The outdoor season brought yet more successes for the Red Storm, who started by making the program’s first trip outside of the Continental U.S. to compete at the Spring Break Classic in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Fresh off of her indoor BIG EAST weight throw title, senior thrower Danette Hinton picked up where she left off as she was twice named BIG EAST Field Athlete of the Week while climbing to fourth place on St. John’s all-time hammer throw list. Hinton set a personal best of 57.07 meters in the college women’s championship division of the famed Penn Relays. The outdoor season was also highlighted by the Red Storm opening competition on its newly-renovated $1.5 million Regupol DaSilva Memorial track & field facility, as St. John’s first hosted the annual Monday Meeting followed by the inaugural Tom Farrell Classic on May 3, paying tribute to its assistant coach and former world record holder. At the BIG EAST Championship, the Red Storm again impressed as Claire Mooney was crowned the conference’s 400-meter dash champion while 400-meter hurdler Amber Allen and Hinton both secured silver medals in their respective specialties. In late May, St. John’s was represented at the NCAA Championships for the 23 rd year running, as the Red Storm’s 4x400-meter relay team placed 23rd at the NCAA East Regional while Hinton was capped a brilliant career by placing 29th in the hammer throw.
Just a few summers ago, Coach Hurt and the rest of the St. John’s track & field community were able to enjoy the presence of 2009 graduate Phobay Kutu-Akoi at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Kutu-Akoi represented her home country of Liberia and was even given the honor of bearing the nation’s flag during the Opening Ceremonies. The St. John’s and Liberian 100-meter dash record-holder, Kutu-Akoi qualified for the 100-meter dash at the 2012 Summer Games. She would go on to place sixth in her heat running an 11.52 second time, less than .4 seconds behind the final qualifying spot.
In the past few seasons, Hurt has assembled championship-caliber squads at St. John’s.
In 2012-13, the cross country team opened its campaign with back-to-back team victories at the Hostra-Brick Stone Memorial Run and the C.W. Post Invite before placing 12th at the BIG EAST Championships, one spot up from the previous year. The indoor track season was highlighted by a fifth place finish at the ECAC Championships, the highest Red Storm finish since capturing fourth in 2006, as three different St. John’s competitors claimed podium finishes including individual 500-meter ECAC Champion sophomore Claire Mooney. The outdoor season was highlighted by some terrific sprinting performances, including new school records in the 4x100-meter relay (45.71) and 4x200-meter relay (1:35.25) set at the ECAC Outdoor Championships and Penn Relays, respectively. At the Metropolitan Outdoor Championships, senior standouts Rikka Lovely and Molly Ellis combined to win the 100, 200 and 400 while running on the victorious 4x100 and 4x400 relays as St. John’s claimed the team title. Ellis became the school’s second fastest performer all-time over 400 meters (52.77) in a third-place finish at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships and qualified in the event for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Red Storm would also send senior Trudy-Ann McLean, junior Shayna Presley and Mooney to the NCAA Championships to combine with Ellis in the 4x400-meter relay, where the quartet would cap a memorable season which saw the relay team rise to second on the school’s all-time top-10 (3:35.77). At the ECAC Outdoor Championships, Presley posted the second fastest 400-meter hurdles time in school history (59.49). Building on her terrific Red Storm career, St. John’s alumnae and school record holder Priscilla Frederick continued a six-year streak of top-10 finishes at the USA junior or senior track & field championships, tying for 10th in the high jump at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In all, the 2012-13 season saw the Hurt’s athletes claim nine Metropolitan Championships, 20 BIG EAST qualifications, seven All-BIG East honors, and five All-East Performances.
In 2011-12, the Red Storm claimed the runner-up spot at both the Indoor and Outdoor Metropolitan Championships while placing 10th at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship for the second consecutive year and eighth at the ECAC Indoor Championships. Hurt’s athletes captured 13 Metropolitan Championships, 20 BIG EAST qualifications, nine All-BIG EAST honors, and 10 All-East Performances. Junior Rikka Lovely won the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes at the Indoor Metropolitan Championships while St. John’s took the top four spots in the shot put at the Outdoor Metropolitan Championships, led by senior Chanel King’s eighth career individual Metropolitan championship title. Competing at her final NCAA Outdoor Championships, senior Priscilla Frederick placed 11th in the high jump before tying for seventh at the USA Championships.
In 2010-11, the Red Storm captured its first Indoor Metropolitan Championship since 1989 and placed second in the Outdoor Metropolitan Championship. The team showed strength across all events as they claimed 15 Metropolitan Championships, 21 BIG EAST qualifications, 14 All-BIG EAST honors, and five All-East Performances. The team placed 10th overall at the Indoor BIG EAST Championships which marked St. John’s first top-ten conference finish since 2006. Priscilla Frederick once again dominated the indoor season with six first place finishes in the high jump, an appearance at the NCAA Championships and second-team All-American accolades. Molly Ellis also emerged as a star for Hurt’s squad by capturing the 400-meter title at the Indoor BIG EAST Championships.
In 2009-10, the team won its third-straight Metropolitan Outdoor Championship, totaling 170 points and six event wins. Then-junior Priscilla Frederick had a benchmark season, earning All-American status twice at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, finishing eighth and sixth, respectively. Frederick also competed at the USA Outdoor Championships and won the ECAC Championships with a school record-breaking high jump. Along with competing in the high jump, Frederick was an All-BIG EAST honoree in the pentathlon (indoor) and heptathlon (outdoor). The 4x800-meter relay team of Kim Piard, Sarah Sudbury, Pamela Petruski and Alexis Bean set a new school record time at the Indoor BIG EAST Championships.
During Hurt’s 25-year tenure of coaching the middle and long distance runners, he has guided 17 NCAA qualifying performers as well as NCAA All-American cross country runner Bob Reid, 3k All-American Chris Fogarazzo, and 5k and 10k All-Americans Chris Graff and John Honerkamp, the latter who became the youngest semifinalist at the 1996 USA Olympic Trials and placed sixth in the USA Indoor Nationals in the 800-meter run. Thirteen of Hurt’s distance medley, 3200-meter and 4x1,500-meter relay teams have ranked in the top 10 nationally, and 68 distance runners have won All-East recognition. Hurt’s athletes have also won BIG EAST titles in the 800-meters, the mile, the 3K steeplechase and the 10,000-meter. Since 1982, 48 school records have been established in the distance events under Hurt’s guidance. In 1996, the men’s cross country team placed 17th in the NCAA Championships.
Hurt has kept St. John’s committed to a total team philosophy that recruits and develops quality athletes in all event areas. He utilizes a national schedule that has Red Storm teams competing across the country at top venues that afford the highest levels of competition. Historic Van Cortlandt Park is the home for the cross country team, while the world class facility at the 168th Street Armory is home for indoor practice and competitions. The outdoor team uses DaSilva Memorial Field on the Queens Campus, which boasts a state-of-the art 400-meter oval.
Hurt was a prep All-American in 1972, clocking a 4:10 mile at Proviso West High School in Hillside, Ill. At the University of Notre Dame, he captained the cross country and track & field teams and established school records in the three mile run and the 4 x 1 mile relay. Following graduation in 1976, Hurt competed for the University of Chicago Track Club and the Oregon Track Club. After attending graduate school at the University of Oregon, Hurt served three years as head track & field coach at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. In 1982, Hurt moved to St. John’s to become the cross country and assistant track & field coach.
Currently, Hurt serves as the secretary-treasurer of the IC4A Coaches Association and was once president of the BIG EAST Coaches Association. In 1995, he served as distance coach for the East team at the USOC Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo. That same year, Hurt and his staff were also named Staff of the Year in the BIG EAST Conference. In 1996, he was honored as NCAA Region II Cross Country Coach of the Year.
In 1989, Hurt earned his master’s degree in government and politics from St. John’s.
Hurt currently resides in Glen Cove, N.Y., with his wife Ann. He has two daughters, Kathleen Urtnowski and Cynthia, and a son, James. He is also the proud grandfather of Cassandra Anne Urtnowski.