For the first time in more than 40 years, North Central’s men’s track and field program will experience a coaching change, as longtime associate head coach Frank Gramarosso has been promoted to the position of head coach, effective Aug. 2.
Al Carius, who has guided the program since 1966, will continue to serve as the College’s head coach for men’s cross country and will coach the Cardinals’ distance runners during the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.
“This is a reorganization that will enable us to sustain the growth and success of our programs and better support the individual areas of the program,” Carius said. “The management of a track and field program requires an extraordinary amount of focus on a lot of different details and no one manages those details better than Frank. He is also a phenomenal coach and there are not many areas of our program that he hasn’t helped build up in some way.
“I am as passionate about track and field as I have ever been, and I want us to win, and I think we’re in the best position we’ve ever been in to continue as a nationally recognized power in track and field for many years to come.”
The decision comes on the heels of a 2009-2010 season which saw North Central become just the second NCAA Division III institution and the fourth in collegiate history to collect the men’s cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field national championships in the same academic year.
The trio of championships brings Carius’ career total to 20, 14 of which have occurred since Gramarosso joined the staff in 1983. North Central has claimed seven NCAA Division III national track and field championships (two indoor, five outdoor), including a sweep of the indoor and outdoor titles in 1989.
“When Frank came on board, he helped bring the balance to the success of the track team that we see today,” Carius said. “He is one of several coaches we have now who are specialists in their areas. Putting Frank in position to be the head coach for track and field allows me to return to my specialty and focus on the distance events.”
Gramarosso, who currently coaches North Central’s sprinters and relay squads in addition to serving as the day-to-day administrator for the cross country and track and field teams, has mentored 161 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin individual champions and 139 All-Americans. His 4x400-meter relay team placed first at the Division III Indoor Championships this season, winning the Cardinals’ first national title in the event. He has also coached middle-distance runners, pole vaulters, hurdlers and decathletes during his time at North Central. Gramarosso joined North Central’s faculty as an assistant professor in the health and physical education department in 1985 and was promoted to associate professor in 1996. He has a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and a master’s degree in health education, both from Northwestern University.
“One of the hardest things about coaching in track and field is bringing the entire team together,” Gramarosso said. “We’ve been successful in several different areas, but we still want to work as a great team, because that’s the attitude that’s gotten us to where we are. It’s now my responsibility to take the lead in that process, and I’m honored that the administration trusts me to continue the success and growth of the program.
“After working with Al for 28 years, I know the philosophy will remain the same—‘We build winners in life.’ The characteristics that young men need to develop to be successful in track and field are the same characteristics needed to be successful in a career and as a citizen, spouse and parent.”