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Sun Devil cross country coach Ryun Godfrey looks to replicate past success

The former North Dakota State and Kansas State coach brings his winning ways to Tempe

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ASU cross country coach Ryun Godfrey talking to his runners on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, at their practice field in Tempe. 


The Sun Devil cross country team will have a new face steering the ship this season, as Ryun Godfrey will lead the squad as head coach following the resignation of former Sun Devil head coach Patrick Henner in June 2022.

Godfrey now adds the Sun Devil job to an already stacked resume, which he hopes to further strengthen this coming season. Godfrey said previous experience in Tempe impacted his decision to accept the job at Arizona State. 

"We would always come down here for the Sun Angel meet and the Baldy Castillo meet and it was always one of my highlights in terms of coming down to Tempe and competing here so it left a good impression on me," Godfrey said. "The combination of having those memories, then getting the chance to talk to coach Miller, it seemed like a great opportunity.” 

His career leading up to ASU included coaching 12 Division l All-Americans, 31 Division II All-Americans and 39 Academic All-Americans. Godfrey cited working with the athletes as his favorite memories of his time coaching. 

"It's certainly the kids," Godfrey said. "All the athletes you work with are the highlights for me. I worked with a great group of people at Kansas State and also at North Dakota State. There’s a lot of similarities here, too. Just a strong work ethic and people are determined.”

Before his coaching career began, Godfrey attended North Dakota State, where he ran four years for the Bison. He earned All-North Central Conference honors to go along with his seven league championships. 

Godfrey got the job coaching his college squad in 1999, slotting in as the coach of the women's cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams for the Bison. 

He stayed at NDSU for 15 years, bringing unprecedented success to the Bison with 30 conference titles — four in cross country, 13 in indoor track and field and 13 in outdoor track and field. Godfrey’s Bison squads even hold 24 school records. 

In his final season with NDSU, he achieved one of his great career achievements. Godfrey was awarded both the 2014 USTFCCCA’s indoor and outdoor Midwest Coach of the Year award. Only three other coaches in the nation were able to sweep both awards. 

Once Godfrey’s time as a Bison ended, he continued his coaching career at Kansas State. He spent the last eight years coaching the Wildcats, and while his time in Manhattan didn’t last as long, Godfrey left the sunflower state with plenty of accolades to his name. 

He left the Wildcats holding six program records, many of which belong to Kassidy Johnson, who holds program records for both indoor and outdoor 800-meters. Johnson took home fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships and finished 14th in the NCAA Outdoor Championships while also taking home bronze in the 1500-meters race at the Big 12 Outdoor championship. 

“I’ve noticed he specializes in the 800 and 1500 just looking at his bio,” said sophomore Dayton Carlson, who competed at last year's NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. “I’m really excited for track season, but I’m also excited to see what I can do during cross country. I didn’t really get the chance last year.” 

Carlson and senior Vincent Mauri both mentioned Godfrey’s personality when it comes to coaching styles as the biggest difference between Godfrey and Henner. 

“Two different sides of the spectrum with personalities,” Mauri said. “I think to each their own, it works good both ways.” 

Godfrey said while he has moved around in his time coaching, he hopes Tempe is the final destination in his coaching career. 

The Sun Devils will start their 2022 campaign when they travel to the University of California, Riverside Invitational which is set to begin Saturday at 7:15 a.m

Edited by Kathryn Field, Logan Stanley and Luke Chatham.


Reach the reporter at jeigo@asu.edu and follow @JosephEigo on Twitter.

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