John Crooke enters his 18th season as head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country programs at Wesleyan in 2017. Under his guidance, both the men’s and women’s teams have established themselves in regional and national rankings, and consistently ranked among the top-15 in New England.
The women’s cross country program has qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship three times under Crooke (2002, 2004, 2009), with its most recent visit in 2009 resulting in a 14th-place finish. The men's team has earned three national championship berths as well (2005, 2006, 2015), and finished 11th out of 32 in its most recent appearance.
Individually, the Cardinals have accumulated 18 NCAA qualifiers between the men's and women's teams, with the most recent being Will Dudek '17 in 2016. Dudek placed 49th out of 278 runners with a time of 25:06.3 on the 8-kilometer course at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. All-American Bryan Marsh '13 represented the Cardinals on the individual side at the national stage in 2012. Marsh is one of nine Wesleyan cross country runners to earn All-American honors since 2000.
Crooke was named NESCAC Men's Co-Coach of the Year and New England Division III Men's Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the 2005 campaign.
Crooke also serves as an assistant coach for men's and women's indoor & outdoor track, working with the distance runners. He was acting head coach for both teams during the outdoor season in 2000-01, and guided the women’s team to a third-place finish in the NESCAC Championship, which was the highest conference finish in school history. On the track, Crooke has directed five All-Americans, including Ellen Davis '07, who was the national champion in the 5-kilometer run during the 2007 indoor season. He has also produced 19 NCAA qualifiers.
With more than 100 All-New England honorees between cross country and track under his wing, Crooke has also coached seven NESCAC track champions, 49 All-NESCAC runners and 72 Academic All-Americans. During the 2016-17 season, Crooke saw eight of his players named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. His cross country teams have been recognized as Academic All-America squads each of his 18 seasons.
Prior to his appointment at Wesleyan, Crooke served as head men's and women's cross country and track & field coach at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, during the 1998 and 1999 seasons. He was associate head cross country and track & field coach at Widener University in Chester, Pa. (1996-98) where he directed the women's programs, and was also the head boys’ and girls’ cross country and track & field coach at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa. (1988-95).
Graduating from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia in 1983, Crooke went on to earn his master's degree with a concentration in sport and athletic administration from West Chester University in 1996. He is a member of the Saint Joseph's Track & Field Hall of Fame.