Cullen Maksimowski, LSSULakers.com
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.—Lake Superior State University has announced two long-term coaching commitments for both its track and cross country programs with the signing of head coach Rob Gallinger to a multi-year contract extension as well as the hiring of Danielle Filipek as assistant coach as part of the NCAA Division II Coaching Enhancement Grant that was awarded to LSSU earlier this spring.
"We are very excited to add some coaching stability to both our track and cross country programs with the extension of Rob as our head coach and the addition of Danielle as our assistant," said Director of Athletics, Dr. David Paitson. "Improving our overall student-athlete experience has been one of our priorities and being able to provide a steady coaching presence for our track and cross country athletes represents a major step in that direction.
"We are very thankful to have been selected as a recipient for this NCAA grant and would like express our gratitude to Erica Newland (Sponsored Programs Administrator) for her work in helping us secure this opportunity for our program."
Gallinger will begin his second season at the helm of the track and cross country programs after being hired on an interim basis last August. Gallinger, a Lake State Alum, was a member of the Laker men's track and field team from 2011-15 and served as a Laker team captain for his 2015 senior season.
"I'm very excited for the opportunity to continue to making progress on the LSSU cross country and track and field programs," said Gallinger. "I think we have made a lot of positive strides in the past year and I'm looking forward to seeing where we can take this team in the next few years, especially with the addition of (Filipek) as our assistant coach.
"Dani is going to push our program into new and exciting territory. She brings a level of experience that we haven't had at Lake State for a number of years."
Prior to his arrival at LSSU, Gallinger was an assistant track and field coach at White Pines Collegiate and Vocational School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where he primarily worked with jumpers for the 2017 season.
In 2011, Gallinger was hired at his prep alma mater Central Algoma Secondary School in Desbarats, Ontario. At CASS, he held an assistant coaching position from 2011-14 before spending 2015-16 in North Bay, Ontario, at Widdifield Secondary School as an assistant coach.
Filipek joins the LSSU coaching staff after spending the last season as the women's head cross country coach at Cleary University. Prior to her stint with the Cougars, Filipek served as a volunteer assistant cross country coach at Lansing Community College.
"I am honored and elated to be a part of the Laker family," said Filipek. "As a high-level coach, I hope to instill the growth processes that the athletes continual seek constant improvement of themselves and the betterment of their communities. I am excited to get started with pre-season in the upcoming week and meet the athletes.
"Coach Rob has done an amazing job here running the program solo and my hope is to help support, guide and foster long-term growth of the cross country and track and field programs."
Filipek, a native of Clinton Township, Mich., was an NCAA Division II All-American as a runner on the track and field team at Northwood University where she earned her bachelor's degree in Marketing & International Business in 2014. She completed her Master's Degree in Science Management for Walsh College in 2017.
From 2015-2017, Filipek ran professional marathons for Hanson's-Brooks Original Distance Project, which is a premier marathon program that aims to promote athletes to the next level of sports for US, World and Olympic Championships. She competed in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles.
In 2017, Filipek made the transition to running professional ultra-marathons and was the National Trail Champion in the 50 Mile. As a sponsored athlete for Brooks Running, she will continue her professional running career.
The 2018 cross country schedule kicks off on Saturday, Sept.8 as the Lakers travel to Kenosha, Wisc., to take part in the Wisconsin-Parkside Invitational.