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Longtime Dartmouth track and field, cross country coach retiring

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 4:10 PM EDT
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HANOVER, N.H. (WCAX) - The pandemic is putting some people’s careers in perspective. Those who were thinking about retirement in the next year or so are making the decision to walk away now. That’s the case for one Dartmouth College coach whose track shoes will be tough to fill.

It’s not the way Barry Harwick envisioned how his 28-year-career would come to an end. “One of the hardest things, obviously, is telling the team anyway, to tell people on a Zoom call -- not the way anyone wants to do it there,” Harwick said.

It was back in early March when Harwick told athletic director, Harry Sheehy, he was looking forward to the cross country season. Not too long after, spring sports were canceled due to COVID-19, and for the Ivy League, that’s carried through the fall. With no season, the full team will likely not be on campus at any time during the first semester. The school’s offering an early retirement package and the 65-year-old coach is saying goodbye. “After talking with my wife, it was just the right time for me,” Harwick said.

A member of the class of ’77, Harwick returned to Dartmouth prior to the 1992-93 school year. In 2014, Harwick was named director of track & field and cross country, overseeing the men’s and women’s programs. Cross Country won six Ivy League titles under Harwick, and led the Big Green men to a pair of New England outdoor championships. He’s coached all-Americans and had the best seat in the house to watch Adam Nelson and Abby D’Agostino develop into Olympic athletes.

“But a lot of people just were hard workers for four years, and they really got a lot out of the program, and it’s just really gratifying to know that you had a chance to be involved in that,” Harwick said.

“The legacy that he’s left, no one’s going to forget that,” said Alec Eschholz, a Mt. Mansfield Union High School alum who jumped for the Dartmouth Track and Field program from 2015 to 2019. Since Eschholz focused on the hurdles, he didn’t work directly with Harwick, but that didn’t stop Harwick from being the glue that kept the “green” together.

“He really liked to foster that sense of community and family,” Eschholz said. “It really just made everybody feel like they were all helping out for the common goal.”

The common goal these days is just to get back out on the track and have a season, and when that happens, Barry Harwick says he’ll be there, showing support for a program he successfully structured. “Short term, there are going to be a few bumps in the road. Long term, I think things are going to be great,” Harwick said.

Even though Barry Harwick’s marathon career is crossing the finish line unexpectedly, he leaves behind a personal record that will be tough for anyone to catch.

Harwick’s last official day is Wednesday, September 30th. In the near future, he and his wife are going to spend some time on Cape Cod. Not only was he at Dartmouth 28 years, but he has also been a collegiate head coach for 40 years.

Dartmouth is currently searching for his replacement

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