There’s a new face at the helm of the University of Florida’s cross country program.

Chris Solinsky, a former distance runner and NCAA Division I champion, has joined the Gators as an assistant for the program’s track and field and cross country programs, UF coach Mike Holloway announced Thursday.

Chris obviously made a name for himself as a runner, but what he’s done as a young coach is impressive as well,” Holloway said in a release. “He’s a fiery competitor, and he’s a winner. We think those two things will enable Chris to bring a lot of passion and a lot of intensity back to our distance group.”

Solinsky, 32, has spent the last six seasons coaching across the country, including stops at the University of Portland (2012-14) and, most recently, at College of William & Mary (2014-17). As a collegiate runner, Solinsky was a five-time NCAA champion and 14-time All-American at the University of Wisconsin.

He became the first non-African distance runner to run the 10,000 meters in under 27 minutes.

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity Coach Holloway’s presented me with at the University of Florida,” Solinsky said in a release. “With everything the University of Florida has at its disposal and the atmosphere of the team right now, I’m excited to pitch in my part to make sure the distance runners are contributing just as much to that success and culture.”

Solinsky became the head cross country coach at William & Mary in 2016 and later won the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year while leading the team to their 17th consecutive team title.

As an assistant, he helped the women’s team reach the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championship by winning the NCAA Southeast Region Championship.

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