Men's & Women's Assistant Nordic Ski Coach
Sherwood Center, Whitman College
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Office FAX: (509) 527-5960
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Malcolm R. Dunn, a veteran college and high school coach at several campuses on both sides of the country, took the reins of the Whitman College men’s and women’s cross country program in August of 2005.
Dunn, a 1993 graduate of Minnesota’s Carleton College, will also serve as an assistant coach for men’s and women’s Nordic skiing.
Dunn replaces Neal Christopherson, who coached the Whitman cross country teams on an interim basis last year. Christopherson, who is continuing as a volunteer assistant coach, is the assistant director of institutional research and a lecturer in sociology at Whitman.
For Dunn, his Whitman appointment marks a homecoming of sorts. As a toddler, he lived in Walla Walla for one year while his father taught at Whitman as a visiting sociology professor. A native of Eugene, Ore., Dunn was raised in Portland, where he was a competitive runner (cross country, track and field) and swimmer at Lincoln High School.
He headed east for college, majoring in philosophy at Carleton and graduating cum laude. He was a three-year letterman in cross country and an all-conference performer in the middle distances in track and field.
After graduating from Carleton, Dunn earned a master’s degree in kinesiology at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 1997 and a master’s degree in exercise and sport studies at Smith College (Northampton, Mass.) in 1999. While at Smith, Dunn was the head cross country coach for one season and an assistant coach for two. He also served as an assistant coach for three seasons of indoor and outdoor track and field.
Dunn spent the 2004-05 academic year at Carleton, working as the head men’s track and field coach during the indoor and outdoor seasons and as an assistant men’s cross country coach during the fall months. While Dunn coached at Carleton, the men’s cross country team finished eighth at the NCAA Div. III National Championships. His indoor and outdoor track teams included one national championship qualifier, four individual conference titles in the distance events, and 16 all-conference performances.
Dunn also has cross country and track coaching experience at Lincoln High School, his alma mater in Portland, Ore., and at two private preparatory schools, Castilleja School in Palo Alto, Calif., and St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. While at St. Paul’s, he coached the school’s nationally-recognized Nordic ski teams.
Dunn says he accepted the Whitman coaching position for a number of reasons. With family in San Francisco and San Diego, his preference is to work in the western U.S. He also likes Whitman’s blend of academics and athletics. “Whitman has a strong academic tradition and the potential for excellence in athletics,” he says. “Whitman has had a lot of individual success in cross country in recent years, but I’d like to see us have more success on the team side.”
As a runner and coach, Dunn has always favored cross country over track and field. “Cross country has a much stronger team component,” he says. “It emphasizes a group effort as opposed to just an individual effort.”
Part of Dunn’s coaching philosophy is to encourage his runners to gain strength from their team affiliation. “I want our athletes to embrace the concept of using their teammates, both physically and mentally, to make themselves better runners and competitors.”
Dunn says his training and conditioning programs are aimed at helping runners “extend their aerobic capacities. And regardless of which sport I’m coaching, I place a great deal of emphasis on the educational side of things. I want to make sure athletes know why I have them training in a certain way. I don’t want them trying to run through a brick wall simply because coach tells them to run through a brick wall. Once they leave Whitman or are no longer part of a structured program, I want them to know how to design their own training or fitness program.”
Dunn, who was hampered by injuries throughout his college career, has continued to compete in a variety of trail races, marathons and ultra-marathons. Last summer, he and some of his former Carleton teammates ran in California’s Mt. Diablo Summer Run, a 31.2-mile race compounded by a 10,000-foot gain in elevation. In the past few years, Dunn has also added road cycling and triathlons to his list of athletic challenges.
His identical twin brother, Philip, also a 1993 Carleton graduate, has twice competed in the Summer Olympics in the 50-kilometer race-walking event.