John Gard and Cassidy McGowan have been named co-head coaches for the Notre Dame Academy boys and girls track and field team.
Gard and McGowan have coached together since 2015 with Notre Dame’s cross-country program and are aiming to translate their coaching success to the spring for track and field.
“Cassidy and I will develop a culture of large numbers, great joy and help kids grow as young adults in the classroom and as a team,” Gard said.
Gard has served as head coach for Notre Dame’s cross-country program since 2009, guiding the boys team (nine) and girls team (eight) to a combined 17 WIAA state appearances. The boys and girls teams both finished as the state runner-up twice and the girls team won the WIAA Division 2 state championship in 2014.
“I am looking forward to coaching wonderful student-athletes and helping them unlock their unrealized potential,” said McGowan, who has served as an assistant cross-country coach the past six seasons for Notre Dame.
McGowan, an Indianapolis native, is a Learning Resource Specialist at Notre Dame. The Marquette University alum qualified for the Boston Marathon last year.
Meanwhile, Gard has competed in the Boston Marathon nine times. The Lena native is president of the Gard Business Group and Wisconsin Independent Businesses. He has remained passionate and active in distance running since competing in both cross country and track and field at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the 1980s.
Gard and McGowan are both excited for the opportunity to lead the track and field program at Notre Dame. The opening was created after Molly French stepped down following four years as head track and field coach and 13 years as an assistant under John Nowak before that, which included the girls team winning the WIAA Division 2 state title in 2010.
“They were a perfect fit for Notre Dame,” NDA athletic director Matt Koenig said about naming Gard and McGowan co-head coaches. “The passion and the drive for giving students opportunities in sports is what NDA is always looking for in a coach. It does not matter if you are the fastest athlete, the strongest athlete or the athlete that can jump the furthest, they bring a sense of community to our students and they will make sure students feel like they are a part of something special.”
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