Mark Stanforth enters his seventh season as a volunteer coach for the Air Force cross country program. Stanforth, who retired from the Academy in the summer of 2007 after serving 15 years as the head coach of the cross country team and associate head coach of the track and field team, also assists the Falcons' middle distance and distance runners during the track and field season.
During his tenure as the Falcons' head coach, Stanforth guided Air Force to the Academy's first Mountain West title in any sport, as the men claimed the 2003 conference cross country title. He also coached the men to three top-16 NCAA finishes between 2000 and 2004, highlighted by an eighth-place finish in 2003. The Falcons, who placed within the top-three during 14 of 15 seasons, won three total conference championships under his leadership (1994 WAC, 1996 WAC, 2003 MWC) and finished as conference runners-up six times. Stanforth was selected by his peers as the conference coach of the year on four occasions.
When the Falcons qualified for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship in 2000, it marked a unique coaching distinction for Stanforth - his teams had qualified for the national championship meet in every collegiate division: NJCAA, NAIA and NCAA Divisions I, II and III.
Stanforth, the program's longest tenured coach, led the women during their transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. In his first four years, the Falcon women competed in Division II and qualified for the NCAA Championships each year with program-high finishes of sixth in both 1992 and 1995. The Academy moved its women's programs to Division I in 1996 and three years later, the Falcons started a string of five consecutive third-place Mountain West conference finishes -- the only upper division finishes by any Falcon women's program in Division I.
Individually, athletes with whom Stanforth worked with earned All-America honors 10 times in track and field and six times in cross country. He coached 28 individual conference champions on the track and one in cross country. His teams also earned national all-academic honors nine times.
Prior to coaching at the Academy, Stanforth coached one year at his alma mater, the University of South Dakota/Springfield, seven years at Glendale (Ariz.) Community College and five years at the University of California, San Diego, in addition to one year as a graduate assistant at Northern State (S.D.) University.
Stanforth and his wife, Pat, have two sons, Nicholas and Daniel.