BUENA VISTA, Va. Acting Athletic Director Deidra Dryden has announced the hiring of Spencer Hirt, as the men's and women's cross country coach at Southern Virginia. Hirt will step away from the competition side of the team to finish out his senior year as the head coach of the teams. Hirt will replace Leslie McKinney who has moved on, after her husband acquired a new job out of state.
Despite Hirt being a first time coach, Dryden sees this hiring as a positive. "He has the skills to communicate effectively with the runners," said Dryden. "He had great success in the short term that he was a runner here, and I'm excited to see him pass on those skills to our teams. SVU Cross Country has a great history, and Spencer will continue that tradition."
Hirt ran for the Knights in the 2008 season before sitting out 2009. In his time with the Knights he was one of the best runners for the team, and helped the 2008 group to a strong finish at the USCAA National meet. He finishes sixth in the meet, and was named an All-American for his efforts. Hirt also was named SVU Male Rookie of the Year.
Running talents are not all that Hirt possesses, as he also came to SVU to wrestle. Originally from Barrow, Alaska, Hirt was 3-time state champion in Alaska, and was named to the Alaska All-Decade Wrestling Team. He also was a coach for a middle school wrestling team in 2008.
Coach Hirt is married to his wife, Holly, and the couple has two boys, Jacob and Carter. He is currently a member of the US Navy Reserves as a Petty Officer Third Class, with a rate of Master At Arms. He is finishing his senior year at SVU, and will finish with degrees in biology, and a minor in chemistry. He is also the current president of the SVU Lions Club. Hirt also served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Thailand Bangkok mission.
"I've hired three new coaches in my short time as the acting athletic director," said Dryden. "Spencer fits in with what I am hoping to accomplish with our teams. We've had great coaches prior to these new hires, and I hope that the new coaches can build off of solid foundations, and take our teams to even higher levels of excellence."