Al Carius, North Central College head men’s cross country and associate head men’s track and field coach, was inducted into the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame on April 1, according to the Peoria Journal Star.
A Morton, Ill., native, Carius has coached North Central College to 14 Division III national cross country titles, including the most recent in 2011, and six outdoor and three indoor national track and field titles in his 46 years at the College.
Carius was honored as cross country Coach of the Century, as well as being named NCAA Division III Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009 and 2011. He is also a member of the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame, the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Drake Relays Hall of Fame. In October 2006, he became an honorary alumnus of North Central.
The USTFCCCA honored Carius with the creation of the Al Carius Program of the Year Award during the 2008-2009 academic year, which is given annually to the NCAA Division III men’s cross country/track and field program with the highest average finish at the three national championships.
At Morton, Carius was state runner-up in cross country in 1959 and the 1960 state champion in the mile before going on to win two Big Ten cross country championships and three conference titles in the two-mile running for the University of Illinois.
John Crain ’14, current member of North Central’s cross country team and resident of Dunlap, Ill., was quoted in the Peoria Journal Star feature about Carius: “Everyone wants to get better, from the first person on the team to the 40th person. Al says the highest honor you can achieve is a personal best, and that’s available to everyone. This program is unlike any other in the nation,” said Crain.