By Madeline Cade, Contributing Writer
Pictures from mckbearcats.com
Early in the summer of 2019, McKendree announced that they would be searching for a new Head Men and Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country Coach. While it was slightly unexpected, the team was ready for a new challenge and experience. After a nation-wide search and over 100 considered applicants, Agne Eggerth was selected as McKendree’s new head coach.
Before coaching, Eggerth began her career as an amazing sprint athlete. She attended McKendree as a student and was a part of one of the most influential women’s teams the school has ever had. That team collected five NAIA national championships. Four of those five were consecutive from 1999-2002. This indoor team was inducted into the McKendree Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. Eggerth said that one of the biggest differences between the team while she was an athlete versus the team now that she is the coach is the size of the squad. When she ran at McKendree, the team was much smaller and made up of mostly international students.
Eggerth ranks second in NAIA history by holding seven individual indoor titles. Her two strongest events–the 200-meter dash and the 55-meter dash–wielded all of those. She still holds the NAIA record for the fastest 55-meter dash with a time of 6.83 seconds. Along with those titles, she is the only track and field athlete to hold the title of NAIA Indoor National Championship Performer of the Meet three times throughout her career.
Her accolades don’t stop after McKendree. In her native country of Lithuania, she broke national records in the 50-meter dash, 55-meter dash, 60-meter dash, 100-meter dash, and 200-meter dash. She also represented Lithuania in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. When describing her training she said, “That’s years and years of hard work and sweat and tears and pains and injuries and more hard work not only from me but from my coach as well.”
After her days of competition ended, Eggerth turned to coaching. For nine years, she served as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I Kennesaw State University. She worked closely with sprinters, mid-distance, jumpers, and relays. During her time there, her men’s and women’s teams obtained 17 Atlantic Sun Conference Championships. She has coached 77 NCAA qualifiers.
“Track is not only my work but also my hobby.” Eggerth says. When she isn’t training or running competitively she likes to take her dog Blanka out for a run. She enjoys taking her other two older dogs on walks as well. Besides running, she also likes to read books.
Eggerth says that her expectations for the 2019/2020 indoor and outdoor seasons are simply to evaluate the team and see what she needs to do, change, or improve for the coming years. When I asked her how she felt about accepting the position as head coach, she responded, “I had an awesome experience here as a student-athlete. [I] met a lot of good people here–formed lasting relationships and friendships. So, the decision to come back here and give back to the university as a head coach was an easy one. A bit nerve-racking but change always is. But nervous in a good way–hoping that I will meet and exceed the expectations of my team, staff, our athletic director, and the president. But overall, [the] feeling after accepting the job was a bit like coming home.”