Porscha Dobson Named New Director of Track & Field and Cross Country

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By: Pat Salvas

HANOVER, N.H. – Dartmouth Director of Athletics and Recreation Harry Sheehy has announced that Porscha Dobson has been named the new Marjorie & Herbert Chase ’30 Director of Dartmouth Track & Field and Cross Country.
 
Dobson comes to Hanover after nearly a decade in the Ivy League as a member of the staff at Penn. In Philadelphia, Dobson served as an assistant coach from 2012 through 2018 before being promoted to associate head coach for the last two years.
 
It is believed that with this hiring, Dobson becomes the first female director of both a men’s and women’s cross country and track and field program in the history of the Ivy League. She is also one of just a handful of women to have held that title for any team across the NCAA.
 
“I am honored to be named the Marjorie & Herbert Chase ’30 Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at Dartmouth,” Dobson said. “Having the opportunity to continue a career in the Ivy League is very special to me. I would like to thank Harry Sheehy and [Associate Athletics Director for Varsity Sports/Peak Performance] Jennifer Chuks for believing in me and supporting my vision and passion for the student-athletes. I thank Steve Dolan for trusting my leadership at Penn, and Matt Valenti and Scott Ward for their endless support of the Penn program and of my professional career. Finally, I thank the Penn Track & Field alumni and friends for their overwhelming generosity and love for the program.”
 
“I am excited for this next chapter with Dartmouth Athletics and to build upon the foundation set by Barry Harwick and his staff,” Dobson added.
 
An experienced and highly respected sprints and hurdles coach, Dobson helped lead the Penn women’s team to the last five Ivy League Heptagonal titles — the 2020 indoor meet as well as the 2018 and 2019 indoor and outdoor championships. In total, Dobson has been a part of not only those five Ivy League Heptagonal team titles, but has also coached 14 individual champions and 45 First- or Second-Team All-Ivy League performers.
 
At this past year’s indoor title meet, her sprints group combined for 49 percent of the women’s team points, scoring in 10 events.
 
A testament to her level of success at Penn, Dobson was awarded the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Regional Assistant Coach of the Year for back-to-back seasons (2018 and 2019). She leaves behind a Quaker record book that has her fingerprints all over it; the fastest women in program history in every indoor and outdoor sprint, hurdle and relay event were all coached by Dobson. Perhaps her greatest accomplishment in the City of Brotherly Love was coaching the first group of women sprinters in Penn’s history to reach the finals of the NCAA Championship in the 400m and 4x400m relay in 2019.
 
“It is my great pleasure to welcome Porscha to the Dartmouth Athletics Department and the Dartmouth community at large,” Sheehy said. “Porscha stood tall among a deep and accomplished final group of candidates. Her excitement for working with student-athletes in an Ivy League setting was apparent to all who met her. She understands the role of athletics at Dartmouth and is passionate about using the vehicle of track and field to develop the whole person. I very much look forward to working with her.”
 
Prior to her time at Penn, Dobson served as the head coach of women’s track and field at Montclair State University from 2009-12. While in her native New Jersey, her Red Hawks produced a national champion and an NCAA runner-up, a Regional Track Athlete of the Year, two NCAA All-Americans, four individual national championship appearances and a slew of other accolades. For her role in helping create such a successful program, she was named the NJAC Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2011, just her second year in the league.
 
Dobson began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Seton Hall in 2008, shortly after finishing up her outstanding collegiate career at North Carolina. She parlayed those 13 months of experience into the head coaching position at Montclair.
 
Her ability to connect with student-athletes comes from her successful time as one of the best hurdlers in UNC history. As a member of the Tar Heels from 2003-08, Dobson was a three-time captain, an All-ACC performer and key contributor to two conference team titles. She would earn a degree in communications and media studies in 2008 before beginning her coaching career at Seton Hall with the Pirates track and field program that fall.
 
Dobson’s road to Chapel Hill started in New Jersey, where she dominated the high school landscape at Kent Place School in Summit. A multiple All-America honoree, New Jersey State Champion and Athlete of the Year, she was the 2003 national runner-up in the 60m hurdles and ranked No. 5 in the entire country. That outdoor season saw Dobson rank second nationally in the 100m hurdles and seventh in the world. She remains one of the three fastest hurdlers in state history and still holds several Garden State records.
 
Dobson is a native of Roselle, New Jersey, and fills the position opened up by the retirement of longtime coach Barry Harwick ’77.
 
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“I am going to miss working with Coach Dobson but am excited to watch her take the next step in her career. She has made a significant contribution to the success of Penn Track & Field and has positively impacted many student-athletes here at Penn. I consider Coach Dobson a close friend, so I’m very glad that we will be able to stay connected as fellow coaches in the Ivy League.” – Steve Dolan, Penn Director of Track & Field and Cross Country
 
“At recent Ivy Championships, I’ve been incredibly impressed by Penn’s performance and I know that Porscha has played a large role in those successes. She knows what a championship team looks like and she will be able to articulate that vision to the men and women of Dartmouth very convincingly.” Barry Harwick ’77, Longtime Dartmouth Track & Field and Cross Country Coach
 
“Porscha has been an integral part of the resurgence of women’s track and field at Penn, which has won the last five Ivy League Indoor and Outdoor Heptagonal Championships. She has made a positive impact on the lives of our Penn track and field student-athletes, and we will miss her presence at Franklin Field and in our Division. I am excited for this next step in her professional career at a fellow Ivy League school that values the unrivaled academic and athletic experiences we sponsor in this league, and wish her the best of luck at Dartmouth.” – M. Grace Calhoun, Ph.D., Penn Director of Athletics and Recreation
 
THE DOBSON FILE
2011 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC)  Coach of the Year
2018 USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year
2019 USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year
 
AT PENN:
5 Ivy League Team Championship Titles
24 NCAA East Prelim Qualifiers
5 NCAA Final Round Qualifiers
5 NCAA All-Americans
5 USATF U20 Qualifiers
17 Current School Records:
    – 60m, 60hh, 200m (Indoor/Outdoor), 400 (I/O), 100m, 100hh, 400ih, Long Jump, Triple Jump, 4×100, 4×400 (I/O), Distance Medley, Sprint Medley, Shuttle Hurdles
99 all-time top-10 Records
25 Ivy League all-time top-10 marks
14 Ivy League Individual Champions
31 Ivy League Individual Runners-Up
113 Ivy League scorers (only six places scored)
55 All-Ivy League Honorees (first- and second- place conference finishers)
19 USTFCCCA Academic All Americans
 
AT MONTCLAIR STATE:
1 National Champion
1 NCAA Runner-Up
7 NCAA All Americans
7 NCAA DIII Qualifiers
13 school records
Team ranked No. 5 in region and 25-35 in country
Team placed the highest at conference championship in school history
22 conference champions
3 conference records
75 all-conference honors
USTFCCCA Atlantic Region Track Athlete of the Year
2 Montclair State University Athletes of the Year
6 Conference Most Outstanding Athletes of the Year
5 Conference Rookies of the Year
15 Conference Athletes of the Week
15 University Athletes of the Week
22 students nationally recognized for holding a 3.0+ GPA
5 students on Dean’s List
5 inducted into National Honor’s Society (at least a 3.7 GPA Junior Status)
3 Conference First Team Female All-Academic (Only 1 selection per school)
2 First Team Capital One Academic Honors
 

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