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UNC not to renew contract of track and field head coach, Harlis Meaders

track and field head coach Harlis Meaders

Harlis Meaders, UNC's track and field head coach, addresses the team after a January meet.

Next season, North Carolina's track and field and cross country teams will have a new head coach.

The University has elected not to renew the contract of Harlis Meaders, which expires at the end of June, the athletic department announced in a statement Tuesday. Meaders, the head coach and director of both the track and field and cross country programs, has held the position since 2012 after 18 total years of working in athletics at Florida State University. He ended his FSU career as an associate head coach of 8 years. 

"Harlis is a great and caring Tar Heel, and I have even more respect for him today than when I hired him in 2012,’’ director of athletics Bubba Cunningham said in the statement. “He has been an outstanding role model to our students, a caring teammate to our staff and a great example for our alumni. We always will be proud to have him as a member of our Carolina family. However, we have not achieved the level of competitive success in our track and field program that we expect, and it is time to take the program in a new direction.”

The search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

“I would like to thank director Cunningham for providing me the opportunity to lead the track and field and cross country programs over the last seven years," Meaders said in the statement. "It has truly been a labor of love to serve my alma mater."

Last season, UNC men's track and field placed 12th at the ACC Indoor Championships and seventh at the ACC Outdoor Championships, while the women's team finished 10th at outdoors and tied for 10th at indoors.

“Over the last several years, our program has faced a number of non-traditional variables that have hindered our program’s ability to reach both director Cunningham’s and my personal goals for UNC to be a top 10 program in the country and a top 3 program in the ACC," Meaders said. "So, while I am disappointed with the decision not renew my contract, I do agree that I have not reached our common goal.

“Thank you to everyone that has assisted me in this labor of love," Meaders continued. "It has been amazing and I could not have accomplished any of this without your help."

@ryantwilcox