As chronicled in the story “Family Strides” in the October/November 2021 issue of Evansville Business, running — especially at the University of Southern Indiana — is in the Nolan family’s blood. Austin, the third of USI Hall of Famer Jim and Tammy Nolan’s six sons, calls USI “my second home,” and the university clearly feels the same way: In September, USI’s cross-country and track and field programs announced Nolan would join their coaching staff as an assistant.
“Austin is a great addition to the USI coaching family as we continue to grow the program to meet the challenges ahead,” Head Coach Mike Hillyard said in a press release announcing Nolan’s hiring.
As an athlete, Nolan worked continuously to improve his running style and times. The results made him a Second Team All-American in track, two-time Great Lakes Valley Conference Runner of the Year in cross-country, and a combined eight-time GLVC champion in both sports while competing at USI.
Still, Nolan initially didn’t think he would end up coaching. While he earned a master’s degree in sport management in May 2022, watching Hillyard convinced Nolan that coaching was the post-graduate path he wanted to take.
He says the most fulfilling part of assistant coaching is watching the athletes’ progress, especially as the Screaming Eagles compete in their first season of NCAA Division I athletics. Many of the runners he is coaching also were once his teammates, and his younger brother Alex is a freshman on the team this season.
“I’m a very competitive person. I’m proud of the accomplishments so far,” Nolan says. “I 100% believe that USI cross country and track and field could be a top contender in Division I.”