Lehigh’s track and field team recently made significant changes to its coaching staff following the retirement of previous coach Matt Utesch.
Todd Etters, head coach of men’s cross country and previous assistant men’s track and field coach, has been promoted to head coach of men’s track and field.
Khayla Atte, former women’s track and field assistant coach, has been promoted to the head coaching position.
Assistant coach Brooke Astor is now acting as the director of recruiting and student athlete development.
Utesch coached the track programs for 25 years. His resignation was announced over the summer.
Etters said that when it came to the hiring process for a new head coach, the university was looking at the strengths of the existing staff to restructure the program.
Etters, Atte and Astor are all Lehigh track alumni. Etters said this has made them extremely dedicated to the team and even more grateful for the opportunity to take on elevated coaching roles.
“I think what came through is our love of Lehigh and the experience that we had here as student athletes,” Etters said.
Etters has been the head coach of Lehigh’s cross country team for 15 years. Prior to accepting the role of head track and field coach, he acted as an assistant coach beside Utesch.
“I don’t think this change will be that hard for me,” Etters said. “I think the challenge will be going from coaching 20 men to now having the focus be a little broader.”
Atte said she feels prepared to take on a larger role on the coaching staff.
Atte said her goal for the team this season is to maintain the strength the team had last year and to continue breaking records.
“I think the Lehigh community should be really excited that all of our athletes came back excited to compete again,” Atte said. “They want to be here, they want to win and they’re excited about the coaches that they have.”
Sophomore Kevin Harvey said he did not expect Etters to take the head coaching job on the track and field team, but he is happy that he did. Harvey said Etters is a supportive coach who cares about his athletes, and always has the mindset of putting his athletes and their health first.
Harvey said Etters’ leadership has already improved the attitude and energy of the team, and he is always there to listen to his athletes.
“He is willing to help us in any way, whether that be taking us to different meets than we normally go to, or experimenting with different ways of practicing and recovering, which has boosted the energy of the team a lot,” Harvey said.