Sep 11, 2018
“Chris Popovici ’06 enters his third season as head men’s and women’s track & field coach and assistant men's and women's cross country coach at his alma mater for the 2016-17 season, having already coached the Knights to fifteen Track & Field All-American certificates.
In 2015-2016, Popovici led the Knights to unprecedented success, including one National Championship, two second place finishes, and three third place finishes at the NCAA Championships. Jacqueline Huben became a National Champion in the 3,000m steeplechase, while Alexa Wandy finished second nationally in both the indoor and outdoor triple jump, and Isaac Garcia-Cassani finished third in the indoor mile and outdoor 1,500m, and anchored a Distance Medley Relay that featured James Laguerre II, Lorenzo Mazzuca, and Ryan Moynihan to another third place at the Indoor National Championships.
In 2014-15, Popovici guided the women's team to the program's first SUNYAC outdoor track & field title since 2010 and ninth overall. He also coached four athletes to the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships, two of which became All-Americans, sophomore Wandy and junior Huben. Wandy captured third place in the triple jump with a final jump of 12.47 meters while Huben finished the 3,000-meter steeple in a time of 10:41.89 to take fifth. Sophomore Sara Rosenzweig came in 12th in the steeple and junior Ashton Hughes took 17th in the 10,000-meter run. At the SUNYAC Championships, the Knights were led by first-place finishes from junior Kylie Ryan (400m hurdles) and Rosenzweig (steeple).
Popovici coached first-year Garcia-Cassani to an All-America third-place showing in the mile at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, as well as Wood, who competed in the 800-meter run. The Geneseo women finished runner-up at the SUNYAC Indoor Championships, led by first-place performances by Keira Wood (mile) and Joanna Castrogivanni (5,000).
Popovici helped the 2014 Knights' cross country teams extend Division III's longest streak of qualifying both its men's and women's squads for the NCAA Championships, with the women making their 16th-straight showing and the men running to their 12th in a row. Senior Cassie Goodman was named an All-American after crossing the finish line in 20th place to lead Geneseo to fifth place in the women's race, while the Knights' men landed 27th. Both squads also were crowned State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Champions, with the women winning their 14th title in 15 years and the men clinching their fifth in the last six.
Prior to taking over at Geneseo, the former Knights’ middle-distance standout spent three years at SUNY Oneonta as an assistant coach for the Red Dragon cross country and track & field programs as well as a lecturer in the Department of Health and Fitness.
During his time in Oneonta, Popovici was part of a coaching staff that led the men’s track & field program to its first-ever SUNYAC Outdoor Championship, winning the 2014 title last month before also running to the first Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Championship two weeks later. Popovici was also part of the men’s team’s first-ever SUNYAC Indoor Championship in 2013, and has coached a total of 28 SUNYAC and 11 ECAC individual qualifiers while with the program. In 2013, the Red Dragon women’s cross country team qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history and saw Danielle Kennedy finish 19th to be named the first All-American in team history.
As a full-time lecturer in both the Health and Fitness and Sports Management programs at Oneonta, Popovici was responsible for the departmental curricular development while also working as the internship coordinator and associate department chair. He taught courses including Kinesiology, Sport Psychology, Current Health Issues, Exercise Psychology, Principles and Components of Fitness, Advanced Weight Lifting for Performance and Sport & Media. He also served as the strength and conditioning coach for the men’s soccer team for the last two years.
Prior to Oneonta, Chris spent two years as an assistant coach for the cross country and track & field teams at Cortland. During the 2010-11 season, he coached 10 ECAC qualifying performances and four SUNYAC place-winners, including Cody Amengual who set a SUNYAC Outdoor meet record during the 800 (1:53.25) competition. Also serving as a graduate assistant in the Kinesiology Department, he went on to earn a master’s degree in kinesiology in 2011, specializing in exercise physiology.
In 2010, Popovici was named director of the Syracuse Chargers Track Club’s Elite Development Group. He has overseen a USA Track & Field (USATF) men’s team 5,000-meter champion and a regional 5,000-meter men’s team champion, as well as eight club records in the sprints, throws and distance events. Twelve athletes from the club have qualified for the USATF National Track and Field Championships since 2011, including Nick Guarino who finished ninth in the 800 meters at the 2014 USATF Indoor Championships and also clocked the 12th-fastest time 1,000-meter time in the world (2:20.32) during the 2013 indoor season. Under Popovici’s watch, Guarino and his brother, Josh, have registered personal-bests of 1:47.13 and 1:47.35, respectively, in the 800 meters. Club member Sean Bernstein also won a pair of gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters at the 2013 Maccibiah International Games in Israel.
Popovici is a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified specialist and holds a USATF Level II certification in the sprints, hurdles and relays. He also recently completed the USATF Level III/IAAF Level V Endurance Elite Coaching Academy curriculum.
A native of nearby Pittsford, N.Y., Popovici started his coaching career at his high school alma mater, Pittsford-Sutherland, from 2006-2009.
Popovici graduated from Geneseo in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. A middle distance standout during his four years in the program, Popovici was crowned SUNYAC Champion in the 500 meters during the 2004 Indoor Championships, and also finished third in the 800 meters on two occasions at the SUNYAC Outdoor Championships. Popovici continues to compete with the Syracuse Chargers Track Club, owning lifetime-bests of 1:52.51 in the 800, 2:29.47 in the 1,000 and 3:57.98 in the 1,500.”
—Coach Chris Popovici
Men's Track Academic Minimums
(out of 4.0)
(out of 1600)
(out of 36)