CHICAGO – Filling the void left by Ed McAllister's retirement earlier this summer, the Saint Xavier University Athletics Department announced Friday that Kyle Rago (pronounced RAY-go) will be named the new head coach of the men's cross country and track & field teams effective Monday, August 11. Rago comes to SXU from Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival Olivet Nazarene University, where he spent the last six seasons as ONU's cross country/track & field recruiting coordinator as well as the strength and conditioning coordinator for the distance athletes. During those six seasons, Rago helped the program grow from 60 student-athletes to over 140 in 2013-14.
"We are thrilled to bring in a coach of Kyle's caliber," said Saint Xavier University Athletics Director Bob Hallberg. "He comes in with outstanding credentials and was a proven recruiter for a very highly competitive Olivet Nazarene University program. Kyle also has great ties within the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and we are looking forward to having him continue the great tradition of cross country and track and field success that has been established here at SXU."
Rago was very instrumental in helping the Olivet Nazarene University men's and women's cross country and track & field teams find plenty of conference and national success during his stint as assistant coach. The ONU men's cross country team won the CCAC team title in 2008, 2009 and 2013; while the women's team claimed the top spot each of the last four seasons. In addition, the women's cross country team finished among the top six nationally at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships in each of the last three seasons, while the men's team finished ranked No. 6 overall in the NAIA in 2013.
Dating back to 2009, Rago also helped guide the Tigers to five straight CCAC track & field team titles on both the men's and women's side. During his time at ONU, he helped coach 32 NAIA All-Americans and 121 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. As a former middle distance runner for the Tigers, Rago was a four-time NAIA national qualifier and set six school records. He was named a team captain for both the cross country and track teams during his junior and senior seasons. Rago graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 2007 with a degree in social science education. The Homer Glen, Ill., native currently resides in Bourbonnais with his wife, Tara, and their two children, Hope and Koen.
"I am very excited to lead the Saint Xavier University men's cross country/track and field programs," said Rago. "I cannot thank Saint Xavier University Athletics and the search committee enough for this opportunity. I look forward to building on the recent success this program has had and leading it to even greater success. Furthermore, I am excited to become a member of the SXU community."