By Tyler Wooten
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- With the departure of Matt Sparks, Saluki alum David Beauchem has officially been named Southern Illinois' head cross country and assistant track coach, SIU track and field head coach Connie Price-Smith announced Tuesday.
Beauchem, a 1990 SIU graduate in recreation, returns to Carbondale after a four-year stint as head track and field and cross country coach with Western Illinois (2010-14) that followed a 16-year reign in the same position at Bradley (1994-2010). He returns to a familiar coaching staff, as Price-Smith and throws coach John Smith were still at SIU training for Connie's post-collegiate career when Beauchem arrived on campus as a freshman in 1985.
"(Returning is) humbling, it's exciting, it's a little bit of everything," Beauchem said. "Connie and I have worked together on a number of different things over the years."
"I'm excited that Dave is joining our staff," Price-Smith said. "He's been around the sport for such a long time, and he's very knowledgeable about what it takes to be successful. He's been a close friend of the program and he'll fit in with our staff and student-athletes immediately."
A native of Byron, Ill., Beauchem was a top runner under Saluki Hall of Fame coach Bill Cornell from 1985-90. He was an All-MVC competitor in 1988 after finishing eighth at the conference meet. On the track, Beauchem was a two-time MVC champion in the 3000 meter steeplechase and was a member on four SIU conference team championships (indoor: 1988, '90; outdoor: 1987, '89).
From there, Beauchem went on to become a graduate assistant at Florida State (1991-93), which propelled him to his first coaching job as a volunteer assistant with the University of Illinois in 1993-94. Beauchem was then named Bradley's head coach in the fall of 1994, where he stayed until 2010. With the Braves, Beauchem coached 35 All-MVC honorees, 13 MVC champions, three MVC Outstanding Field Athletes and three NCAA Qualifiers across both the track and cross country seasons. In 1998, Beauchem's women's cross country team claimed a share of the Valley crown, which earned him MVC Women's Coach of the Year honors.
With a close personal relationship to Saluki track and cross country, Beauchem is familiar with the history surrounding the program. He inherits a successful team of his own, as most of 2013's historic men's and women's cross country teams return after their sweep of the MVC Championships last year.
"The first thing is to continue where things are, to come in and keep things moving forward," Beauchem said. "I'm going to follow Connie's lead and the direction of the program in the pursuit of MVC championships. We need to bring home six trophies this year, and that's what I think the goal of the program is right now."
With the addition of Beauchem, two-thirds of Southern's current track coaching staff now hold degrees from the University.
"I have to give thanks to a number of people," Beauchem said, "including Connie, Mario Moccia and Kathy Jones. The journey to get back here for what I would call my dream job is only the starting point, not the end. I can't think of anywhere I would have been as a coach that would have kept me from coming back."
Athletic Career (Southern Illinois, 1985-90)
Two-time MVC 3000 meter steeplechase champion (1987, '89)
1988 MVC Cross Country All-MVC finisher (1988)
Coaching Career (1993-Present)
University of Illinois (Assistant Coach, 1993-94)
Bradley University (Head Coach, 1994-2010)
Western Illinois University (Head Coach, 2010-14)
Southern Illinois University (Head Cross Country, Assistant Track, 2014-Present)
Coaching Career Highlights (Cross Country)
12 All-MVC Honors
4 All-Summit League Honors
Two individual MVC Champions
One women's team MVC Championship (1998)
1998 MVC Women's Coach of the Year
10 individual All-Midwest Region performers
Three individual NCAA qualifiers
Coaching Career Highlights (Track and Field)
23 All-MVC Honors
68 All-Summit League Honors
11 individual MVC champions
19 individual Summit League champions
Three MVC Outstanding Field Athlete Honors
One Summit League Outstanding Field Athlete Honor
Five individual NCAA qualifiers
19 individual NCAA Regional qualifiers