Robert Gary, Ohio State cross country head coach and track and field distance coach, was named 2004 United States Cross Country Runner of the Year by Track and Field News.

Gary was awarded the honor following a tremendous campaign that saw him qualify for the 2004 World Cross Country Championships in both the 4 and 12-kilometer runs, posting times of 11:15 and 35:07, respectively, at the U.S. cross country championships.

At the world championships, Gary was the first American finisher in the 4k, clocking a time of 12:12.

In 2003, Gary also qualified for the world championships, winning the 4k title and placing sixth in the 12k run. Gary’s 2004 qualification to the world championships in two events marked the first time a U.S. runner made both teams in consecutive years.

In 2004, Gary also earned a second trip to the summer Olympics in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in Athens, Greece. His first trip to the Olympics came at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

This past fall, Gary directed the Ohio State men’s team to a winning performance at the All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships and its fourth appearance to the NCAA championships, where the team finished 22nd of 30 teams.