Rod Cowan is currently in his 10th season as the Head Coach of the SVSU Men's and Women's Cross Country/Track & Field teams. Cowan was introduced as men's and women's cross country/track & field coach in December of 2009.
The 2018-19 cross country season saw much success for the Cardinals as the men finished second and the women finished third at the GLIAC Championships. Coach Cowan was also awarded Midwest Men's Coach of the Year for the men's second place finish at the Midwest Regional Championships punching their ticket to the NCAA DII National Championships. Tom Goforth, Nate Frasier and Austen Mandernach earned All-Region honors for their performances at the Regional Championships. The women's team finished fifth at the Midwest Regional Championships with a ninth place finish coming from Allison Dorr earning her All-Region honors and an individual bid to compete at the NCAA DII National Championships. The men would continue on to finish sixth overall at the National Championships led by Tom Goforth and CarLee Stimpfel who placed 16th and 26th overall both earning All-American Honors. Allison Dorr earned All-American honors for her 28th place finish at the National Championships.
The 2018-19 track and field season started with both the men and women placing fourth at the Indoor GLIAC Championships. Cardinals had five athletes qualify and compete at the DII Indoor National Championships with the best performance coming from Lauren Huebner finishing third overall in the pentathlon earning All-American honors. Huebner also earned the GLIAC Winter Commissioner's Award. Outdoor GLIAC Championships saw both the men and women finish fourth overall. Cowan had six athletes qualify and compete in the NCAA DII Outdoor Championships. The Cardinals finished with three All-American honors: Lauren Huebner and Allison Dorr for the women and Ryan Kelly for the men. Lauren Huebner finished first as National Champion in the heptathlon competition setting a new school record while Allison Dorr finished eighth in the 10,000 and Ryan Kelly placed sixth with a new school record in the shot put. Huebner also recived Google Cloud Academic All-District honors and Google Cloud Academic All-America First Team honors. Dorr Received GLIAC Spring Commissioner's Award.
In the 2017-2018 season, the Cardinal men's cross country team earned second place and the women placed fourth at the GLIAC Cross Country Championships. Maggie Pawelczyk and Morgan Fuerst earned All-GLIAC Second-Team honors. Parker Eisengruber, Timmy Kimball, Clyde Anderson, Austin Mandernach, and Branden Bohling all earned ALl-GLIAC Second-Team accolades as well. The men's team finished sixth and women finished ninth at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet.
During the 2016-2017 season, the Cardinal men's cross country team took second and the women placed fifth at the GLIAC Cross Country Championships. Nate Frasier, Eddie Komph, and Joey Southgate earned All-Region accolades, leading the team to a third place finish at the Midwest Regional Championships. The men's team qualified for the National Chmapionships for the first time since 2009. Allison Dorr earned All-Region honors for the women's team. The men's team finished tenth at the NCAA Cross Country National Chmapionships.
The 2015-16 season, the Cardinals men's cross country team took third and the women placed sixth at the GLIAC Cross Country Championships. At the NCAA DII Midwest Regionals, the men's team took seventh and the women placed 13th.
At the GLIAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the men placed fifth and the women placed sixth.
In the 2014-15 season, Cowan led the men's cross country team to place 16th at Midwest Regionals and 8th at the GLIAC Championships. The woman's Cross country team placed 5th at the GLIAC championship.
In the 2012-13 season, Cowan led the Cardinal men to a 7th place finish in the GLIAC Championships and a 19th place finish in NCAA regionals. The Lady Cardinals were exceptionally successful under Cowan's leadership, placing 2nd at both GLIACs and Regionals before finishing in 11th place at the NCAA Championships.
In the 2011-2012 cross country season, Cowan coached the women's team into the SVSU history books. The Lady Cardinals earned third place finishes at the GLIAC and NCAA Midwest Regional Championships which would qualify them, for the first time in school history, for the NCAA DII National Championships where they placed 13th overall.
Cowan has also had success with both the men's and women's the track and field teams while at SVSU. Since being appointed the head coaching position at SVSU, Cowan has had the opportunity to coach his athletes to two men's school records (800-meter [I]/800-meter [O]), two men's GLIAC records (800-meter [I]/distance medley relay [I]), and four women's school records (mile [I]/pole vault [I/O]/distance medley relay [I]). He has coached three male athletes to All-American status and has had multiple male and female athletes qualify for the NCAA DII National Championships. Cowan also had one athlete compete in the 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Junior National Championships.
Before coaching at SVSU, Cowan was previously at Marshall for the past five seasons (2004-09). In his first season, he coached the sprinters to three school records including the 100m, 4x200 and 4x100. During his second year, two more school records were broke in the 60m and the 4x400.
In 2009 Cowan had one of his best seasons ever as a coach. Accomplishments included training six athletes which set school records, and helping an athlete to win the Conference USA title in the penthathlon.
Cowan joined the Marshall coaching staff after numerous years and successes at the high school level in South Carolina. An Anderson, S.C. native, Cowan was named the Anderson Independent male coach of the year in 2004 and was a seven time S.C. Region 1-AAAA coach of the year. Cowan became a USATF level II certified coach in 2003.
Cowan's successes come on all levels, state, regional and national. On the state level Cowan coached his team to two state runner-up titles. In Region 1-AAAA Cowan won seven conference titles. Cowan coached two national champion shuttle relays, 2004 NIC boys shuttle relay that set the new meet record as well as the national outdoor shuttle relay record and the 2005 NIC girls' shuttle relay. Cowan had three track and field All-Americans during his tenure as a high school coach.
A graduate of Claflin University of Orangeburg, S.C., Cowan is married to the former Shaneka Johnson and has two children, Shericka and Kelan.