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Passionate in her pursuit of perfection, Florida State coach Karen Harvey has transformed the Seminoles into a perennial national cross country championship contender, while developing some of the finest distance runners in the country on the track.
In her fifth season as FSU's head women's cross country coach with oversight of the distance runners on the track, Harvey has guided the `Noles to five consecutive podium finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, including back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010. An incredible run on its own merit, the streak is even more impressive when considering the school had made just three NCAA appearances prior to her arrival in 2007 and had not finished better that 18th.
Excellence, however, has become the norm at FSU, which has rattled off four consecutive ACC and NCAA South Regional crowns. Beyond developing teams capable of producing championships at the highest level, Harvey's women have collected 12 All-American honors and four Regional Athletes of the Year, highlighted by Amanda Winslow in the fall of 2010. In addition, three Seminoles have won individual ACC cross country titles. Punctuating Florida State's cross country dominance, Harvey has won five consecutive ACC Coach of the Year honors, while earning four NCAA South Region Coach of the Year awards.
In addition to her cross country honors, Harvey has oversight of the Florida State track & field women's distance team, which has enjoyed similar success. On the track the `Noles have collected 10 All-American honors between the indoor and outdoor seasons, with Hannah Brooks (1,500m, outdoors) and Winslow (mile, indoors) pushing that total to double figures last year. The `Noles have enjoyed similar success within the ACC ranks. Jessica Parry's 2011 ACC outdoor title in the 5,000 meters was the 11th individual crown won by a Seminole between the 800 and 10,000-meter distances since Harvey joined the staff.
Former Seminole All-Americans Hannah England, Susan Kuijken, Barbara Parker and Pillar McShine - all Harvey protégé's - have their sights set on the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Beyond performance-based results on the course and track, Harvey's teams have excelled academically. Current Seminoles Amanda Winslow, Jennifer Dunn and Parry are among a host of athletes who have earned USTFCCA All-Academic and Academic All-ACC honors. Collectively, the FSU women have never dipped below a cumulative 3.0 team GPA in her tenure.
Prior to joining the Florida State staff, Harvey turned Illinois into one of the finest cross country programs in the nation over a five-year run. In her final two seasons in Champaign, the Illini posted a pair of top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships. After a 20th-place showing in 2004, Illinois produced the top finish in school history with a fifth-place finish in 2005, then followed up with an eighth-place showing in 2006.
In 2006 Illinois captured the program's first NCAA Midwest Region championship, which earned Harvey the first of her five USTFCCCA Region Cross Country Coach of the Year awards.
Before taking her first full-time position at Illinois, Harvey spent two seasons as a volunteer cross country and track & field assistant coach at her alma mater, Michigan.
Harvey enjoyed an impressive running career, both collegiately and professionally, and continues to compete today. In 1998 she was ranked No. 1 in the world in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. A native of Branford, Ontario, Harvey was a nine-time member of the Canadian national team, including three world cross country teams. She is the former Canadian record-holder in the steeplechase (10:14.27) and finished fifth at the 1998 Goodwill Games in the event. In 2000, Harvey was Canada's top 1,500-meter runner after clocking a time of 4:16 at the Boston Indoor Games.
Collegiately, Harvey collected All-American honors in both cross country and track at Michigan between 1991-1995. She placed 21st at the 1992 NCAA Cross Country Championships and also earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 1992 and 1995. On the track, Harvey finished eighth in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships and fifth in the 3,000 meters in 1995.
A 1995 Michigan graduate, Harvey received her B.A. in anthropology. She was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, winning the 1995 Scholar Athlete of the Year award.
Harvey is married to four-time NCAA champion and three-time Olympian Kevin Sullivan.