Northeastern University Athletic Director Peter Roby announced last week that cross country and champion track and field head coach Sherman Hart has retired, ending a 24-year coaching career with the university. The men’s and women’s track and field teams won 28 conference championships under Hart.
“Northeastern has had a reputation in track and field circles for many years as being one of the better programs in New England, and some of our athletes have competed at the national and international levels,” Roby said. “There are a lot of athletes who have benefited from having competed here [under Hart] and our hope is to continue to have the legacy as we go forward.”
Northeastern has also started a nationwide search for a new head coach, Roby said.
“As much as we’ve benefited from Sherman’s leadership over the long haul, there is an opportunity now to identify new leadership to take us into the 21st century and we’re excited about that,” he said.
On March 29, the university suspended Hart indefinitely while it and the NCAA looked into possible recruiting violations. Roby wouldn’t explicitly say if Hart’s retirement was a result of the investigation, but alluded that it could have been a contributing factor.
“There might be a connection to it; it’s more than just a coincidence,” he said.
Roby said the investigation is in the hands of the NCAA, which is reviewing the case and will report its findings to the university once it decides whether any violations occurred.
Under Hart’s coaching, the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams combined for 27 America East titles. Northeastern moved to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in 2005 and his women’s track and field team grabbed the university’s first CAA championship in 2007.
Additionally, Hart pushed Northeastern’s running and field programs to the national level, Roby said. In the last seven years, 16 Huskies have competed in NCAA championships.
According to Roby, the university hopes to have a head coach in place before the start of the fall season to allow the coaching staff and athletes time to adjust before the season.
“Our goal is to find someone new to lead the programs,” Roby said. “We are going to try and bring the best that we can to benefit our athletes, with the respect to the leadership that a person will bring, their expertise in the world of track and field, and their ability to recruit quality students to represent Northeastern well.”
Hart, class of 1974, was a Husky through and through as he suited up with the football team while earning degrees in economics and humanities.
Hart could not be reached for comment, but in January he told the News: “I believe in Northeastern itself. It’s a place for me that is home and I really do believe in this school and [think] that they’ve done a great job over the years academically.”