Lyndonville, VT - Longtime Northern Vermont University-Lyndon cross country coach Chris Ummer has retired after guiding the Hornet women for 26 seasons and the Hornet men for 24 seasons. His tenure at Lyndon reached the highest levels of intercollegiate competition in both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Ummer had previously retired as Lyndon's Director of Athletics in May, and has served the college for 32 years in total.
Ummer took over as Lyndon's women's cross country coach in 1993 and as men's coach in 1995. During his time guiding Hornet runners, he has been named conference, district, and regional Coach of the Year numerous times and has held office as the conference and regional chairman of cross country as well as a men's and women's NAIA regional rater. His cross country accomplishments are numerous and include:
- Qualified 10 teams for national cross country championships
- 12 All-Academic Teams
- 12 All-American or Academic All-American runners
- Over 25 conference titles
- Seven regional titles
- Qualified 41 Lyndon runners for the NAIA National Championships
- Five NCAA National qualifiers
- Nine individual conference champions
- Five Vermont state individual champions
- 18 time conference or regional coach of the year
- Regional and conference sports chair 1994-2004
Lyndon interim director of athletics Christopher Gilmore remarked "Chris Ummer's successes go well beyond triumphs of the cross country courses that he graced through his 30 plus years as a coach. The student athlete lives that he influenced will live for years to come, as the students he mentored will go on to mentor the cross country runners of the future. It is easy to see the passion to compete that Chris injected into the student athletes at Lyndon. Chris' legacy as a champion will be remembered here as long as there is a University at Lyndon. We wish Chris all the best in the new chapters of his life."
Ummer reflected on his time working with Hornet runners: "I never imagined I would coach these teams for 26 years. Almost all of my former runners I've stayed very close with or at least in touch with. That's been my greatest gift from coaching. I'll have only fond memories of coaching the cross country teams here at Lyndon. The success I've had is a reflection of the quality and commitment of the student-athletes I've been fortunate enough to coach. I will cherish our achievements and experiences forever."
Ummer was named Lyndon's director of athletics in 2004 and served in that role until May. Under his direction, Lyndon expanded its varsity sports programs and made the transition to the NCAA from the NAIA. Prior assuming the director position, Ummer served as Lyndon's head athletic trainer for 18 years and its sports information director for six years. In addition to his administrative duties, he taught courses in Lyndon's Exercise Science Department throughout his time at the college. Ummer also served as an athletic trainer for the Boston Marathon and Vermont Mountaineers, and as a medical volunteer for the United States Olympic Committee at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Ummer, an avid climber, runner, and outdoorsman, is now working as a national and international bike tour guide for Sojourn Bicycling and Active Vacations, based in Charlotte, Vermont. He is also serving as Lyndon's assistant women's lacrosse coach this spring.
A search is now underway for Lyndon's next head cross country coach.