Paul Harkins, who spent four seasons as an assistant coach at New Mexico State, was named men’s cross country, middle distance and distance coach at Yale in the fall of 2011.
Harkins helped the New Mexico State women’s cross country team to the first WAC championship in school history in 2009, just two years after he took over a team that had finished seventh in 2006. He was also a part of the men’s cross country team’s highest finish in school history -- second place in 2010. The men were coming off a seventh-place finish when Harkins arrived in Las Cruces in 2007. Prior to his time at New Mexico State, he coached at Brown, making Yale his second Ivy League stop.
Harkins was named the WAC Conference Women’s Coach of the Year in 2009 at New Mexico State after leading the Aggies to the league title. That same season, he coached the WAC Women’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year. In 2009 and 2010, he coached the WAC Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year. All told, Harkins coached five individual WAC champions and 53 all-conference honorees, including the Aggies’ first male cross country runner to earn back-to-back all-conference honors since 1971-72. His runners set nine school records and made 60 additions to the school’s top 10 list. Harkins’ teams also achieved success in the classroom, as both the men and the women were recognized as USTFCCCA All-Academic teams in 2009 and 2010.
Prior to joining the New Mexico State staff, Harkins spent a season as an assistant at Brown and two seasons as an assistant at Missouri State. He coached at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Wash., from 2001 to 2004.
In his short time at Yale, Harkins has coached many middle-distance and distance athletes to great success, and students like Kevin Dooney, Tim Hillas, Ryan Laemel, John McGowan, Matt Nussbaum, James Randon, James Shirvell and Matt Thwaites all emerged as regional stars under his coaching. Over the past couple years, the middle-distance and distance events have become the strengths of Yale's track team, while the cross country team has achieved its usual success.
Harkins coached his first Bulldog to the Division I NCAA Cross Country National Championships in 2013, helping sophmore Kevin Dooney overcome some early-season injury issues to place to earn All-Region and second-team All-Ivy honors and become just the sixth Yale runner to compete at Nationals since 1991.
Harkins received a B.A. in economics from the University of Washington, where he ran cross country and track, in 2000. He also has a Master’s of Science in health promotion and wellness management from Missouri State.