The Iona College cross country program saw a change in leadership during the 2018 spring semester with the introduction of Joe Pienta as director of cross country and track & field in early May.
Pienta was an eight-year assistant with the program under the departing Ricardo Santos. A newly minted Hall of Fame coach and student-athlete, Santos left the program in February to pursue an opportunity with the Boston Athletic Association as a high performance coach.
“I am extremely excited to be the next to lead the tradition at Iona,” said Pienta. “Iona has become a home to me. Coaching such an established and renowned program is simply a dream come true, and just as Ricardo continued the success of Mick Byrne before him, it is my goal to sustain and strengthen what these legendary coaches have bestowed upon us.”
Pienta joined Santos’ staff as an assistant coach following a three-year stint at Binghamton University. For the previous three-and-a-half years before his promotion to director of the program, he was Iona’s cross country and track & field associate head coach.
In his time with the Maroon & Gold, four individuals have run sub-four-minute miles including current student-athletes Chartt Miller and Liam Dee. He was a part of the last eight men’s cross country MAAC titles in the program’s current stretch of 27 straight. The women’s squad won seven of eight MAAC titles during his tenure as assistant and associate head coach.
“I look forward to continuing the rich tradition of excellence in the cross country and track & field program set by Hall of Fame coaches Santos and Byrne,” said Pienta.