Bobby Van Allen recently completed his 17th season as head coach of the men and women's cross country and track teams. Competing in the Centennial Conference, both the men and women's teams have made steady climbs toward the top during Van Allen's tenure, with several athletes competing in the NCAA Division III Championship meet and also gaining All-America as well as Academic All-America honors.
Van Allen led the JHU cross country and track & field teams to another successful year in 2014. The women’s cross country team won its third consecutive national championship and a program-best four runners were named All-Americans. Additionally, the men’s and women’s track & field teams swept the Centennial Conference Championships, combining to win all four indoor and outdoor titles.
From 2012-2014 Van Allen earned three straight USTFCAAA National Coach of the Year honors as his women's cross country team captured three consecutive National Championships. The 2012 team became the first women's team in Hopkins history in any sport to win a national title and was also the first Division III national title for Hopkins since men's swimming in 1979. After successfully defending the title in 2013, Hopkins became the first team since the 2000-01 seasons to repeat as DIII NCAA Champions after being ranked No. 1 in the country the entire season. In 2014, the team captured its third consecutive title, becoming the first program to three-peat since SUNY Cortland four-peated from 1992-95.
Van Allen has been named the Centennial Conference Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year five times and has been honored as NCAA Mideast Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year seven times by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Van Allen was named the Centennial Coach of the Year and NCAA Mideast Coach of the Year for the first time on the men's side in 2013.
The Hopkins men's cross-country team put together the best season in school history under Van Allen's leadership in 2013, winning the school's first-ever Centennial Conference and Mideast Regional Titles. The Centennial Championship was the first conference title for Johns Hopkins in men's cross country since 1953, and the Jays received the highest ranking in school history shortly after in the USTFCCCA Poll (No. 8). The team capped of the historic season with the best-ever finish at the NCAA Championship in Hopkins history, taking 11th place and producing the first All-American since 1991.
The Hopkins women's cross country team first served notice in 2006 and 2007 with third-place finishes in the Centennial Conference Championships. They have dominated ever since with eight consecutive team championships from 2008 through 2015. They have also won the NCAA Mideast Championship eight straight years.
The men's cross country team finished in third-place at the Centennial Conference Championship meet in 2007, which they duplicated in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. The men have been solid contenders in the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship with seventh-place finishes in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 they qualified for the NCAA championships as a team for the first time since 1977.
The Hopkins men's track team has had considerable improvement under Van Allen, finishing in the top three in the Centennial Conference the past five years and winning the conference indoor title for the first time in school history in 2013. The men went on to win the first Centennial outdoor title in program history in 2014; the first outdoor conference title for Hopkins since 1948. Hopkins produced its first-ever individual national champion under Van Allen in 2014, as then-senior Andrew Carey won the 800 meter run at the NCAA Championships. The Blue Jays earned both the indoor and outdoor Centennial Conference Championships in 2016 as part of a men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor sweep.
The Hopkins women's track team earned its first Centennial Conference track and field title in the outdoor season of 2010, and have now won eleven consecutive titles between both the indoor and outdoor seasons. They have become more dominant each year, capturing the 2013 outdoor crown by an astounding 181 points over the second place team. In 2014, they claimed nine individual and two relay team gold medals along with two second and seven third place medals en route to their fifth straight outdoor title.
Coach Van Allen has been named the Centennial Women's Track Coach of the Year for three indoor season and four outdoor seasons and has also been honored as NCAA Mideast Women's Track Coach of the Year eight times by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Van Allen joined the Hopkins coaching staff in 1999 as an assistant assigned to the development of distance runners. He became the head coach in the fall of 1999 and the first full-time head coach in the history of the program in 2002. Among his many accomplishments as head coach, Van Allen has bolstered the size of the women's team and brought in top-level recruits who have prospered under his system as the school continues to move up the team rankings on the national level. Three males and 20 female athletes have earned All-America status in track and cross-country under Coach Van Allen's tutelage.
Van Allen's coaching career began in the fall of 1998 at the University of Maryland, where he was a volunteer assistant coach after having had a highly successful career in the sport at Maryland.
He earned a BS in kinesiological sciences with a bio-physical option while competing in cross-country and track. As a Terrapin, he earned All-East cross country accolades and was a finalist at the ACC Championships in the 1500 meter run. He has earned a coach's diploma from the USTFCCCA and holds a Level 1 Coaching Certificate from USATF.