Dan Finanger, a nationally-recognized coach in distance running, was named Head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach at Belmont Abbey on December 6. He will also oversee the Triathlon program.
Finanger comes to The Abbey with a wealth of coaching experience both at the adult and high school levels. He has coached more than 5,200 athletes across 16 states to complete a marathon, including sending four athletes to the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials. He coached the 1995 Boston Marathon Championship Team and served as director and head coach at international running clinics in Saudi Arabia. He also established Finanger Running Adventure Camps, which promoted running in outdoor venues such as the Cascade Mountains, the Rocky Mountains and the Maine Coast.
"Dan Finanger is a mentor, teacher, and coach who appreciates our mission at Belmont Abbey College, understands the importance of establishing a clear vision for Cross Country and Track & Field, and comprehends how to go-about instilling a culture program-wide that cultivates formation and development," Director of Athletics Stephen Miss said. "Through his experiences as an athlete, coach, and organizer, Coach Finanger has acquired and refined a rather unique leadership skill set, which will enable him to serve our students so that they may come as close as is possible to realizing their full potential mentally, spiritually, and physically and, thereby, become a blessing to themselves and others."
In 2007, Finanger was selected by Runners' World Magazine as a Super Coach and has his training program published. He served as Executive Director of the Twin Cities Marathon for four years and Course Director for Race for the Cure, Twin Cities for 25 years. He was the youngest winner of the Minnesota Distance Running Distinguished Service Award and has himself completed 21 marathons, including three in Boston.
As a high school coach, Finanger mentored the 2017 Cross Country Athlete of the Year selected by the North Carolina High School Coaches Association after she won the individual state championship. In his seven seasons at the high school level, four of his athletes have earned all-state honors while nine were named all-conference. He coached four athletes to individual conference titles in both North Carolina and Minnesota.
As a student-athlete, Finanger ran cross country and track at Division III Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He was a member of seven conference championship teams (four cross country, three track and field), including the 1985 National Championship Cross Country squad. He served as captain of the cross country team as a senior, while also competing in the 1500m and steeplechase at the track.
Finanger holds a bachelor's degree in accounting with a minor in sports management and coaching. He and his wife, Lori, have two sons, Scottie and Jonathan.