Cal Poly Humboldt Hall of Famer Mark Conover has passed away at the age of 61.
The nine-time All-American graduated from Humboldt State University in 1981 and won both the NCAA national cross country championship and the 10,000 meters in his final year competing for the Jacks.
He died on April 6 of a recurrent cancer.
“Mark is Humboldt,” Lumberjacks cross country head coach Jamey Harris said. “He is a legendary figure in our program. He’s a big reason why I wanted to coach here and he’s an enormous inspiration to our current athletes. I’m sure he will continue to inspire Lumberjack runners long into the future.”
Conover was inducted into the Cal Poly Humboldt Hall of Fame in 1993.
After his time competing for the Jacks, Conover would go on to win the 1988 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and became a distinguished college coach.
After placing 10th at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1993.
He recovered after extensive treatment, and qualified for and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.
He started his coaching career after the 1996 Olympic Trials, married Kelly Cordell (All-American at Arizona State), and was the father of triplets.
“Coach Conover’s life was a testament to his passion for running and to inspire others to overcome obstacles, Humboldt track and field coach Sarah Ingram said. “He had and will continue to have a profound impact on the programs he was a part of, touching many lives as a successful athlete and teammate, and then as a legendary coach for so many years. He leaves a legacy of excellence and perseverance that we will remember him for, among other things such as his kindness and positivity. His life story continues to inspire us.”
Conover received his master’s from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he coached the men’s cross country team to an unprecedented seven conference wins in the Big West Conference Championships.
The 21-time (men and women) Big West Coach of the Year was a three-time West Region Coach of the Year.