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    Jan. 27, 1998

    April Ecke Named Northwestern Head Women's Cross Country Coach

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- April Ecke has been named Northwestern University's head women's cross country coach. The announcement was made today by athletic director Rick Taylor. Ecke comes to Northwestern from the University of Alabama-Birmingham where she has been the head men's and women's cross country and women's track coach for the past year.

    "We are very pleased that April will be joining our staff," said Taylor. "Her coaching positions at both universities (UAB, Mississippi State) allowed her to experience every phase of running a successful program. In addition, she had an outstanding collegiate career as both a student and an athlete."

    Prior to her stint at UAB, Ecke was the assistant men's and women's cross country and track coach at the University of Alabama from 1995-97. In addition to her coaching duties, Ecke taught track and field classes to college students at the university.

    The Southeastern Conference Student-Athlete of the Year in 1995, Eck was a decorated student-athlete at Mississippi State. She was named to the All-America cross county team (1993) and was a two-time All-SEC cross country pick (1992, 93). As a track performer, Ecke twice earned All-SEC accolades and was the school record holder in the 3,000-meter outdoor and the 5,000-meter indoor and outdoor events. In the classroom, Ecke earned Academic All-America honors in 1993 and was a four-time Academic All-SEC honoree. She also received Mississippi State's Newsom Award for the top female student-athlete three-straight years.

    "I am thrilled about the opportunity to build a first-class cross country program at Northwestern University," said Ecke. "Northwestern has all the necessary elements for building a top-notch program. Those elements include a degree from one of the top institutions in the country, its location near the city of Chicago and the opportunity to compete in one of the premier conferences in the nation."