Coach Plasencia Steps Down From University of Minnesota


After 25 years at the University of Minnesota, Steve Plasencia will be stepping down from his coaching duties. Plasencia has had a decorated career at the head of the Gophers cross country and track & field programs, and his impact on the program and running in Minnesota is enormous. I mean just look at some of his accomplishments at Minnesota:

  • Five Big Ten Track & Field Team Championships
  • Three-time Big Ten Indoor Team Championships 
  • Two-time Big Ten Outdoor Team Championships 
  • 26 Big Ten Indoor Individual Champions 
  • 26 Big Ten Indoor Individual Champions 
  • 22 Big Ten Outdoor Individual Champions 
  • 82 Indoor Track and 47 Outdoor Track All-Americans 
  • 15 NCAA Cross Country Championship appearances 
  • Eight top-20 NCAA Cross Country team finishes 
  • 12 Cross Country All-Americans 
  • 3 Big Ten Cross Country individual champions 
  • 39 All-Big Ten Cross Country Awards 

After competing for the United States in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, and the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, Plasencia was hired as the head coach of Gopher men's cross country in 1996 and served in that capacity for 13 years. In 2008, he was promoted to director of men's cross country and track & field. Following a reorganization of the track & field program in 2018, Plasencia remained head coach for cross country and became assistant track & field coach. 

His personal accomplishments as a coach include being a four-time Midwest Region Cross Country Coach of the Year, two-time Midwest Region Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year, three-time Big Ten Indoor Coach of the Year, and two-time Big Ten Outdoor Coach of the Year. 

It will be interesting to see how Plasencia leaving the program after 25 years will impact the current crop of athletes competing there alongside the cutting of the Men's Indoor Track and Field Program. Might it be harder to retain some of the top athletes in Minnesota? Will there be a mass exodus from the program?