Cathy Casey is in her 11th year (2002-present) at SMU, becoming head cross country coach eight years ago in 2005. She is also an assistant track and field coach.
Casey has played a pivotal role in the Mustangs' swift rise to national prominence in cross country, winning five Conference championships (C-USA, 4 & American Ahtletic Conference,1) in the last six years. During each the championship season, she earned Coach of the Year honors.
On the track, Casey specializes in the development of middle and long distance athletes.
In her first season as head coach in 2005, Casey led the team to a third-place finish in the C-USA standings. Then sophomore Rachel Forish and freshman Jessie Jackson earned all-conference honors, and Forish was selected to the all-region first team with a seventh place finish at the NCAA South Central Region meet. That finish qualified her as an individual for the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
During the indoor season, the distance medley relay team comprised of then junior Rachel Barber, sophomores Franziska Lakomy, Ilyssa Pettigrew and Jackson, ran to a second place finish at the C-USA Indoor Championships. In addition, Jackson (Mile) and Pettigrew (800m) earned all-conference honors.
In the spring, Casey guided Forish to her first-ever NCAA Outdoor appearance in the 6k where she ran a personal best of 16:27.5. At the C-USA Outdoor Championships, Forish, along with Pettigrew, earned individual All C-USA honors in the 1500m and 800m, respectively. Forish was named All-Midwest Region in the 5000-meter run.
In 2006, Casey coached Forish to one of the best individual seasons in SMU history, as she became the Mustangs' first-ever C-USA cross country champion and C-USA Athlete of the Year. A few weeks later she became the NCAA South Central Region champion (20:30.4) and was named NCAA South Central Region Athlete of the Year. After finishing 35th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, she received all-America honors. As a team, the Mustangs finished fifth at the 2006 NCAA South Central Regional.
In addition to Forish, at the 2006 Conference USA Cross Country Championships, the team placed third for the second year in a row. Forish, then senior Jackson, and sophomore Jessa Simmons received all-conference honors. The 2007 season saw Casey lead the Mustangs to a No. 6 ranking in the South Central Region. That was when then freshman Silje Fjortoft was named C-USA Newcomer of the Year, posting an impressive performance at Regionals (20:35 in the 6k). Fjortoft was the second straight Casey-coached athlete to win athlete of the year honors in the region, following Forish in 2006.
In 2008, SMU Cross Country vaulted to 20th in the NCAA Division I Championships. It was the highest placing for the program in more than a decade. The Mustangs' captured the C-USA title and were a mainstay in the national rankings throughout the year. Now sophomore Fjortoft was named C-USA Athlete of the Year by league coaches. Also in 2008, the Mustangs were named one of the 2008 NCAA Division I Scholar Teams of the Year by the USTFCCCA. The team posted a cumulative 3.29 GPA with Fjortoft and Simmons selected to the C-USA All-Academic Team.
In 2009, SMU won its second straight C-USA title and finished 25th at the NCAA Championships. The Mustangs had a 3.41 team GPA and were honored for the second straight year as an All-Academic Team by the USTFCCCA. Injuries affected the 2010 team but in 2011, SMU added another C-USA Championship. Now senior all-American Silje Fjortoft had a program-best 13th-place finish at the 2011 NCAA Championships. Leading up to nationals, she captured her third South Central Regional title. That first place finish earned her South Central Region Athlete of the Year merits by USTFCCA. Prior to that, she won her second C-USA Championship. In all, Fjortoft won six races in 2011 and led SMU to three first-place finishes.
In 2012, Casey led SMU to the C-USA title for the fourth time in five years. Senior Mary Alenbratt was the team leader, qualifying for the NCAA Championship, where she set a personal-best time of 20:52.9 in the 6K in the final race of her career. Alenbratt was joined by freshman Ashlee Powers as a first team all-conference selection, while freshmen Karoline Skatteboe, Shanoah Souza and junior Caitlin Keen all took second team honors.
In 2013, SMU won its third straight conference title as it won the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship. The Mustangs also placed second of 20 schools at the South Central Regionals and finished 31st at the NCAA Championship meet. SMU achieved many individual honors during the 2013 season to go along with the team aformentioned team finishes. The Mustangs had six individuals earn All-AAC honors and three student-athletes earn All-Region accolades. All-American Athletic Conference selections inlcuded Tova Magnusson, Holly Archer, Caitlin Keen, Karoline Skatteboe, Agnes Sjöström and Melanie Stemper. In addition, Magnusson, Sjöström and Shanoah Souza were named as All-Region runners.
The track & field team in 2014 saw SMU win the inaugural AAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Casey coached two conference champions and five other all-conference performers between the two meets. The titles were the first women's conference crowns in program history. In addition, Coach Wollman and his staff were named the Coaching Staff of the Year at both championships.
Prior to joining the staff full time (2002-2004), Casey assisted in the development of standout distance runner Karin van Rooyen, a two-time All-American, NCAA South Central Regional Champion, Western Athletic Conference (WAC) & SMU record holder, two-time WAC Athlete of the Year, and three-time WAC Champion.
A native of Carbondale, Illinois, Cathy Casey was a member of the cross country/track and field team at the University of Texas, earning her degree in 1997. Casey currently resides in Dallas, TX with her husband Jim.