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Harwick retires after 28-year tenure leading Big Green track, cross country

  • Dartmouth men's track and field coach Barry Harwick, left, and track official Chris Brown talk between running heats at the Dartmouth Relays held at the Leverone Field House in Hanover, N.H., on Jan. 9, 2010. (Valley News - Jason Johns) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Barry Harwick

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/31/2020 9:50:08 PM
Modified: 7/31/2020 9:50:04 PM

HANOVER — Barry Harwick has had few reasons to go to his office during the coronavirus pandemic. Leaving his job of 28 years made it necessary this week.

The longtime Dartmouth College cross country and track coach announced his retirement on Thursday. The 1977 Dartmouth graduate, who has been a college coach for 40 years, will remain on staff through Sept. 30.

In a phone interview, the 65-year-old said an early retirement incentive offered by the college ultimately tipped the scales. The offer is unrelated to Dartmouth’s recent athletic department budget cuts — which led to the cancellation of five sports programs — although the pandemic played a role in his decision.

“Right after the indoor season ended and we lost the spring, I told (athletic director Harry Sheehy) I would look forward to the fall and everything,” Harwick said. “In short order, things happened: The fall season was canceled, and Dartmouth came up with the early retirement incentive. When those came together, when I was talking to my wife, I was like, ‘I want to coach for a while, but I’m not sure when I would be able to coach.’ ”

Dartmouth’s running programs have been dealing with loss for much of the past year, Harwick noted. In addition to having the Ivy League cancel the spring and fall campaigns because of the virus, the teams lost women’s head track coach Sandra Ford-Centonze to cancer last December.

“It’s a very mixed feeling,” Harwick added. “I feel genuinely bad for the students on the team. Every program has had to go through rough sports. Between losing Sandy, the outdoor season and losing the fall season, I kind of feel the team has had to go through an awful lot.”

Harwick won all-Ivy honors in cross country as a Big Green athlete, appearing in two NCAA championships. He was also the school record-holder in the mile and was part of two relay teams that set Dartmouth marks.

He got a taste of coaching at Pittsburgh while pursuing a master’s degree in 1980. Bentley College hired him shortly thereafter, and he stayed there until his alma mater called in 1992.

“I taught high school for one year (after Dartmouth) and, to be honest, I was not a good high school history teacher,” Harwick joked. “I was very fortunate to get the job at Bentley at age 25. Once I got into it, it just struck a chord.”

Harwick-coached Big Green teams won six Heptagonal cross country titles and made the NCAA championship 10 times. His men’s outdoor track teams took a pair of New England crowns. His athletes won 45 events at the outdoor Heps and another 42 indoors. A dozen of his athletes have combined to earn 20 All-America awards.

He also has an invitation to return to the program’s biggest event, January’s Dartmouth Relays, for which he most recently served as director. Harwick said alumnus Tim Clark has already offered to save a spot for him “for checking runners in,” he said.

“As the track banquet, I tell the seniors involved with the team that this is way more than four years; it’s a lifelong thing,” Harwick added. “It’s been a lifelong thing for me, anyway. That will stay the same.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at and 603-727-3226.

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