Under the direction of head coach Bob Braman the Florida State men's cross country program has reached unprecedented heights. Entering his 15th season at the helm Braman has guided the Seminoles to 10 NCAA Championship meet appearances, highlighted by a runner-up finish in 2010 and a fifth-place showing in 2012.
To add perspective to those accomplishments, prior to Braman's arrival Florida State had made just one NCAA Championship appearance and produced just two All-Americans. After running off a streak of 10 consecutive appearances through the 2012 NCAA Championships and producing at least two All-Americans in three of the last four seasons, Braman has his sights set on a new run of success.
Not surprisingly, the Seminoles have been one of the premier programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference over the course of Braman's tenure. Prior to his arrival in 2000, the FSU men's cross country team had not finished higher than seventh in nine ACC Championship meets. Braman matched that all-time best finish in his first season, then guided the `Noles to back-to-back fifth-place finishes in 2001 and 2002. In 2003 the Seminoles charged to the first of four consecutive runner-up finishes at the ACC Championship meet, which, not surprisingly, coincided with the start of their 10-year run of NCAA Championship appearances.
The Seminoles flirted with the title on several occasions, including a one-point loss to NC State in 2004, before breaking through to win the school's first men's ACC team title in 2010. From 2003-2012 FSU's men have finished third or better nine times, including five runner-up performances. Individually, Andrew Lemoncello claimed back-to-back ACC Championship titles in 2004 and 2005 and the Seminoles have piled up 31 All-ACC honors in Braman's first 13 seasons, after failing to claim any in their first nine years of league membership. FSU has also produced four ACC Rookie of the Year honorees, while three `Noles - Matthew Leeder, Michael Fout and Jakub Zivec - have earned ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.
The `Noles won back-to-back NCAA South Region titles in 2011 and 2012, the second of which came at Apalachee Regional Park, FSU's home course, which Braman was instrumental in developing as part of a joint venture between Leon County, the Gulf Winds Track Club and the university. The South Region Championships will return to FSU's home course in 2014.
In addition to his work with the men's team, Braman also laid the foundation for the women's cross country program, which he directed from 2000-2006 before turning it over to Karen Harvey. He guided the women to the first NCAA Championship appearances (2002, 2003 and 2006) in school history. His final women's team, in 2006, finished fourth at the ACC Championship meet - a program-best at the time - and began the program's current streak of seven consecutive NCAA appearances.
Braman succeeded Terry Long as the head men's and women's track & field coach prior to the 2004 season and helped transform the Seminoles into a national power, claiming NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2008. Florida State has finished fourth or better seven times in the last nine outdoor seasons and fifth or better six times in the last eight indoor campaigns, including a fourth-place finish in 2014. Along the way, FSU has become synonymous with success on the national stage.
Florida State's trophy case provides substantial evidence. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) bestowed the John McDonnell Award, presented to the program that posts the highest average NCAA Championships finish from cross country, indoor and outdoor seasons, for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. The FSU men placed in the top five in the final McDonnell Award tabulations for five consecutive years. Not to be outdone, the Florida State women have finished sixth or higher for five consecutive years - one of only two programs that can make that claim - in the competition for the Terry Crawford Award, signifying comprehensive excellence on the women's side.
Over the course of Braman's first 11 seasons, The Florida State men's track & field team has won nine Atlantic Coast Conference indoor and nine outdoor championships, including a sweep of the 2014 titles. In 22 combined team championship opportunities in the ACC with Braman at the helm, the Seminoles have four runner-up finishes to go with the 18 titles. The FSU women's track & field team swept the 2014 indoor and outdoor ACC titles and earned the program's second Triple Crown; a feat they also achieved in 2009.
Since his arrival at FSU, Braman has won a combined 35 national, regional and conference Coach of the Year honors.
On his watch, the Seminoles have brought home 199 All-American honors between the track & field and cross country programs and produced 36 national champions on the track. In 2011, Ngoni Makusha claimed The Bowerman Award - college track & field's version of the Heisman Trophy - after claiming NCAA titles in the 100 (he set the collegiate record, 9.89), long jump and 4x100 relay.
Florida State's success can also be attributed to Braman's ability to maintain continuity within his outstanding coaching staff, led by veterans Ken Harnden, Dennis Nobles and Karen Harvey.
The Seminole brand extends well beyond the borders. Twelve student-athletes who competed collegiately for the Seminoles participated in the 2012 London Olympics. It marked the second consecutive Summer Games the `Noles were represented by a dozen Olympians.
Before joining the Florida State family, Braman enjoyed 17 years of national success at the University of South Florida, where he began his coaching career as the men's cross country assistant in 1983. He was promoted to head cross country coach in 1985 and launched the women's program in 1986. When USF began its track program in 1991, Braman assumed head coaching duties for that sport as well.
Under Braman's guidance, the USF men's cross country team won three Conference USA titles (1997-1999), which followed a streak of six consecutive titles (1988-1993); three each as members of the Sun Belt and Metro conferences. He was honored Coach of the Year 14 times with the Bulls and his men's cross country team earned national rankings in 10 of his last 12 years. On the track his team's produced 41 NCAA qualifiers, highlighted by two-time NCAA 5000-meter champion Jon Dennis (1992-93).
A Tampa, Fla. native, Braman graduated from the University of Florida in 1980 with a degree in broadcasting. He is married to the former Debbie Turner. They have two sons, Steven and Tyler, who are Florida State graduates.
Braman was a three-year captain of the Florida cross country team and earned All-SEC honors in cross country (1979-80) and indoor track (1979), while setting the school record in the indoor three-mile run.