COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State women’s track and field head coach Karen Dennis was named Great Lakes Coach of the Year Tuesday by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

In her fourth year as head coach of the Buckeyes, Dennis has led the women’s program to new heights this season, highlighted by her squad’s second-place finish at the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships Feb. 28. Only a year removed from a ninth-place effort at the conference finals, the Buckeyes increased their overall team score by more than 50 points while claiming two individual Big Ten titles. As a team, OSU posted eight NCAA provisional qualifying marks during the indoor campaign.

A sprint and hurdles guru, Dennis has developed a group of young Buckeye sprinters into national contenders. Junior Letecia Wright, along with sophomores Christina Manning (Big Ten 60m hurdle champion) and Shaniqua McGinnis (400m champion) form a tight nucleus that will represent the Buckeyes at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships March 12-13.

One of the most respected individuals in her profession, Dennis has been involved on the national and international track and field scenes for more than 30 years. Prior to her stint at Ohio State, Dennis oversaw the women’s program at UNLV for eight years and was the head coach at Michigan State – her Alma Matter – for 11 seasons. She has served as an assistant coach on several World Championship squads and was the head coach for the U.S. Olympic team at the 2000 Sydney Games.