Chris Popovici ’06 enters the 2019-2020 year in his sixth season as head men’s and women’s track & field coach and assistant men's and women's cross country coach at his alma mater, having already coached the Knights to 62 All-America certificates, including 8 Individual NCAA Champions and 20 top-3 individual finishers at the NCAAs Championships since 2015.
Atlantic Region Coach of the Year (6)
Women's Indoor: 2019, 2018
Men's Indoor: 2019
Women's Outdoor: 2019, 2018, 2017
SUNYAC Coach of the Year (11)
Men's Indoor: 2018, 2017
Women's Indoor: 2019, 2018, 2017
Men's Outdoor: 2019, 2018
Women's Outdoor: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015
Popovici's tenure has been highlighted by guiding Alexa Wandy '17 to three national championships during the 2016-2017 season, and Isaac Garcia-Cassani '18 to four national championships between 2017 and 2018 seasons.
As an eight-time All-American, Wandy’s senior season included an indoor and outdoor sweep of the NCAA titles in the triple jump as well as the indoor long jump NCAA title. At the outdoor championships she also finished runner-up in the long jump while adding a leg to the seventh-place 4x100 relay to finish. Before closing her career in a Knights' uniform, Wandy earned 11th-place in the triple jump at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Outdoor National Championships in 2017. Named the USTFCCCA Women's Indoor Field Athlete of the Year as well as the USTFCCCA Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, she posted the second-longest triple jump (13.18m/43'3") in Division III history as well as the 8th furthest long jump (6.07m/19’11.75”). She also holds the NCAA DIII indoor and outdoor championship meet records for the triple jump and the outdoor SUNYAC conference record in the same event.
After sweeping national titles in the mile (indoor) and the 1,500 (outdoor) in 2017, Garcia-Cassani returned for his senior season to anchor the Knights’ to a national championship DMR (indoor) and defended his national 1,500m (outdoor) title. He’d also finish second in the indoor 3000m (8:18.18). A 4-time NCAA individual champion and 13-time All-American, Isaac’s 1500m personal best of 3:42.66 stands as the 6th fastest mark in Division III history and stands as the SUNYAC Conference record.
The 2017-2018 season also served as the final year to another standout Geneseo Knights’ career. Camille Wutz ’18 graduated holding 6 school records to match her 6 All-American honors. Wutz finished 2nd in the long jump at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships to follow up her 4th place finish in the event at the 2018 Indoor NCAA Championships. Her personal best of 6.13m (20’1.5”) stands as the 5th best jump in NCAA Division III history, and stands as the SUNYAC Conference Record. Wutz was also an All-American as a member of the Knights 7th place 4x100m in 2017 (47.32) and the 6th place indoor 4x400m relay in 2018 (3:53.12).
In 2015-16, Popovici saw Jacqueline Huben win a national championship in the steeplechase, while Wandy finished second nationally in both the indoor and outdoor triple jump. Garcia-Cassani finished third in the indoor mile and outdoor 1,500 while anchoring a distance medley relay to third place at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
In 2014-15, Popovici guided the women's team to the program's first SUNYAC Outdoor title since 2010. He also coached four athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, two of which became All-Americans. Wandy captured third place in the triple jump with a final jump of 12.47 meters while Huben finished the 3,000-meter steeple in a time of 10:41.89 to take fifth.
TOP PROGRAM MARKS SINCE 2014:
|3000m SC||10:38.60||600m||1:38.37||3000m SC||9:25.55||600m||1:22.75|
|Shot Put||12.83m||60h||8.80||Shot Put||13.06m||60h||8.35|
|Discus||38.17m||Shot Put||12.22m||Discus||41.46m||Shot Put||13.67m|
|Javelin||36.89m||Weight Throw||15.67m||Javelin||47.45m||Weight Throw||15.23m|
|Hammer||50.49m||High Jump||1.63m||Hammer||45.92m||High Jump||1.98m|
|High Jump||1.62m||Pole Vault||3.70m||High Jump||2.00m||Pole Vault||4.90m|
|Pole Vault||3.66m||Long Jump||5.95m||Pole Vault||4.91m||Long Jump||7.10m|
|Long Jump||6.13m||Triple Jump||12.64m||Long Jump||7.29m||Triple Jump||13.81m|
|Triple Jump||13.18m||Pentathlon||3,568||Triple Jump||14.36m||Heptathlon||4,998|
Prior to taking over at Geneseo, Popovici spent three years at SUNY Oneonta as an assistant coach for the Red Dragon cross country and track & field programs as well as a lecturer in the Department of Health and Fitness.
During his time in Oneonta, Popovici was part of a coaching staff that led the men’s track & field program to its first-ever SUNYAC Outdoor Championship, winning the 2014 title before also running to the first Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Championship two weeks later. Popovici was also part of the men’s team’s first-ever SUNYAC Indoor Championship in 2013, and has coached a total of 28 SUNYAC and 11 ECAC individual qualifiers while with the program. As a full-time lecturer in both the Health and Fitness and Sports Management programs at Oneonta, Popovici was responsible for the departmental curricular development while also working as the internship coordinator and associate department chair. He taught courses including kinesiology, sport psychology and exercise psychology. He also served as the strength and conditioning coach for the men’s soccer team for two years.
Prior to Oneonta, Chris spent two years as an assistant coach for the cross country and track & field teams at Cortland. During the 2010-11 season, he coached 10 ECAC-qualifying performances and four SUNYAC place-winners, including Cody Amengual who set a SUNYAC Outdoor meet record in the 800 (1:53.25). Also serving as a graduate assistant in the kinesiology department, he went on to earn a master’s degree in kinesiology in 2011, specializing in exercise physiology.
In 2010, Popovici was named director of the Syracuse Chargers Track Club’s Elite Development Group. He has overseen a USA Track & Field (USATF) men’s team 5,000-meter champion and a regional 5,000-meter men’s team champion, as well as eight club records in the sprints, throws and distance events. Twelve athletes from the club have qualified for the USATF National Track and Field Championships.
Popovici is a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified specialist and holds a USATF Level II coaching certification in the sprints, hurdles and relays, and a USATF Level III/IAAF Level V Endurance Coaching certification.
A native of nearby Pittsford, N.Y., Popovici started his coaching career at his high school alma mater, Pittsford-Sutherland, from 2006-2009.
Popovici graduated from Geneseo in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. A middle distance standout during his four years in the Geneseo program, Popovici won the 500 during the 2004 SUNYAC Indoor Championships, and also finished third in the 800 on two occasions at the SUNYAC Outdoor Championships. Popovici continued to compete with the Syracuse Chargers Track Club, owning lifetime-bests of 1:52.51 in the 800, 2:29.47 in the 1,000 and 3:57.98 in the 1,500.