09/17/16 Cross country

Jake Stewart is set to become Gonzaga's newest women's cross country and track and field head coach, replacing Patty Ley, who officially resigned in July.

Jake Stewart was hired as head coach of the Gonzaga women's cross country and track and field programs, Director of Athletics Mike Roth announced on Friday. 

Stewart spent the past six seasons as head coach of the men's cross country team at the University of Illinois before also becoming the women's head coach in 2017. He will replace Patty Ley, who resigned last month after five years at the helm. 

"My family and I would like to thank [Roth], Pat Tyson and Heather Gores for naming me the head women's cross country and track and field coach at Gonzaga University," Stewart said in a statement. "Throughout my career, I have always viewed Gonzaga as a university that would be a tremendous place to work if ever given an opportunity and during the interviewing process that became apparent.

I believe we will build off of the success coach Ley had during her time at Gonzaga in the future, and the administration has shown a commitment to building the program."

Stewart arrived at Illinois in 2012 and proceeded to guide the Fighting Illini back into the national spotlight as the men's program made its first cross country NCAA championships in 2016 after a 30-year hiatus. Additionally, the men's track and field team won the Big Ten Outdoor Championship in 2015. 

"We are confident in Jake's ability to lead the women's cross country and track and field programs," Roth said. "We are thankful and grateful for Patty's contributions to our University, and we are excited for the future under Jake."

Jackson Frank is the senior sports editor. Follow him on Twitter: @jackfrank_jjf. 

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