KEENE, N.H. – The head coaches remain the same, but there were two additions to the Keene State College coaching staff this fall. Peter Najem has joined the Owl cross country staff while Kerry Howe has been named an assistant coach of the KSC field hockey team.
A former standout cross country and track runner for the Owls, Najem from Derry, N.H., begins his first full season as an assistant coach with the Keene State running program this year.
A two-time All-LEC cross country runner for the Owls, Najem made a name for himself competing in mid-distance races for the Keene State track team as a three-time All-America. He earned All-America honors with his fourth place finish in the 800-meter event at the 2008 NCAA Indoor championship. He was also was a four-time All-Division New England, a two-time New England Open and a three-time All-LEC indoor runner for the Owls.
Najem also excelled during the outdoor season. As a senior, he raced to All-America with his seventh place finish in the 800 and eighth place effort in the 1,000 at the NCAA championships. He also won the 800 event at the New England Division III and Little East meets. He capped his career by earning LEC outdoor track athlete of the year honors. He still holds the Owl records in the 600 (1:12.97) and 800 (1:50.08) indoors and the 800 make outdoors with a time of 1:50.79.
"I’ve been to the nationals, so I can relate to the runners and try to get them there," said Najem. "I think I can be a role model for the athletes as someone who worked hard and developed during my four years with the program."
A former four-year player and two-year defensive starter for the Owls, Howe joins the Keene State field hockey coaching staff as an assistant this season.
Howe, a native of Atlantic Highlands, N.J. wrapped up her Owl career with a super senior season last fall, being named the Little East Conference defensive player of the year. Howe finished the season with two goals, six assists and nine defensive saves. She helped lead KSC to the LEC championship and the programs’ first win in the NCAA Division III tournament.
“It’s a strange transition going from a player to a coach, but I love it so far,” said Howe. “We’ve always had a strong defense. We just have to get players comfortable in new positions.
“Kerry is a great addition to our staff, she has excellent technical skills, and defensive knowledge will be focusing her efforts on improving our defensive game,” said KSC Head Coach Amy Watson.