Marina Muncan, who competed in the 1500 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympics and who has coached the women's distance runners at Division I Rutgers University for the last five years, was named the new head coach of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's and men's cross country programs on Aug. 10, 2020.
Muncan, who will also serve as an assistant with the CMS track and field programs under Head Coach Glenn Stewart, joins the CMS athletic department with eight years of NCAA coaching experience, including three at the Division III level, and 14 years of coaching experience overall. Prior to her tenure at Rutgers, she served for two years as an assistant track and field/cross country coach at The College of New Jersey, and one year as the head cross country coach at Richard Stockton College. From 2006-12, she was an assistant distance coach for the Dinamo Club team in Serbia, coaching men's and women's athletes in distances ranging from 800 meters to 5000 meters.
While a member of the Serbian national team, Muncan competed in the 1500 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, and was a finalist at the 2012 European Championships. She competed professionally with New Balance USA in Boston for six years, earning Serbian national records in both the 1500 meters (4:06.45) and the mile (4:31.16), and capturing the gold medal in the 1500 meters at the 2009 World University Games.
"We are excited to have Marina Muncan join our department," said Perkins Jasper. "She brings an amazing array of coaching and competitive experiences to the table, and we cannot wait for her to work with our student-athletes. Coach Muncan's passion is coaching and teaching; her emphasis on creating an environment where all student-athletes can realize their full potential as scholars, leaders, and athletes makes her a tremendous fit to lead our cross country teams, and also to work with our track and field program under Coach Stewart's leadership."
"I'd like to welcome Coach Marina Muncan to CMS Athletics and the CMS Cross Country/Track and Field program," said Stewart. "Marina brings experience and knowledge from her five years of coaching at a DI Power Five university to CMS, which I believe will help keep our outstanding distance program thriving and moving towards more success in the SCIAC and on the national stage. I look forward to working with her for many years to come."
During her five seasons at Rutgers, Muncan served as an assistant track and field coach and was responsible for the women's cross country and distance programs. She coached two Scarlet Knights to USTFCCCA All-Region honors in cross country for the first time in program history, and qualified the program's first distance athlete to the NCAA Track and Field Championships in over 10 years. Several of her student-athletes set new school records, while all five of her teams earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors for their performance in the classroom.
"I think Claremont-Mudd-Scripps chose a great coach in hiring Marina," said Rutgers Associate Track and Field Head Coach Michael Mulqueen. "She has tremendous knowledge of the sports of cross country and track and field. She cares, greatly, about her student-athletes on the track, in the classroom and in their daily lives. They will be successful in all facets of their lives from her leadership and dedication. I wish her nothing but great success."
Muncan brings strong experience at the NCAA Division III level to CMS as well. She worked with the men's and women's cross country programs at The College of New Jersey, helping them both to back-to-back conference championships in 2013 and 2014. She also helped the TCNJ women earn a 2013 NCAA qualification, while coaching 10 NJAC conference champions and over 25 ECAC qualifiers in her two seasons.
Prior to TCNJ, Muncan spent one season as the head cross country coach at Division III Richard Stockton College in New Jersey, where she coached the program's first-ever NCAA All-Region cross country runner. Her women's cross country team saw an average improvement of 32 seconds at the conference championships from the season before, while the men's team had an average improvement of over a minute. She served as an assistant coach with the track and field program as well, overseeing eight new school records in five different events.
As a student-athlete, Muncan competed at Villanova from 2002-06, where she was an 11-time NCAA Division I All-American, and an 11-time individual Big East Champion. She was the runner-up in the NCAA Division I Championships in the 1500 meters in 2006, and helped her distance medley relay team finish first at the Penn Relays.
"I am thrilled to welcome Marina to CMS," said Mary Hatcher-Skeers, professor of chemistry at the W.M. Keck Science Department and member of the search committee. "Coach Muncan rose to the top of a great candidate pool. Her background as a collegiate and professional runner will inspire our athletes while her commitment to the scholar-athlete model will ensure excellent mentoring. Marina has strong coaching experience that will provide excellent training for both the cross country and track teams. I am also excited for her impact through physical education, working with all students across the consortium."
An Italian major with a minor in Russian, Muncan was a four-time member of the Big East Academic All-Star Team and won an Academic Scholarship from the league in 2006. She was also a six-time selection to the Villanova Dean's List during her academic career.
"I want to thank Erica Perkins Jasper and the search committee for the opportunity to lead the CMS cross country programs," said Muncan. "Throughout the interview process, I could feel the overwhelming enthusiasm and sense of family in the CMS community. I would also like to thank Coach Mulqueen, as working with him was a great opportunity for me to grow professionally and personally."