Rita Arndt-Molis is in her second season as associate head coach for the cross country and track & field program, overseeing the training and preparation of all middle-distance and distance athletes.
Promoted to the position in June 2006, Arndt-Molis served the previous two seasons as the head coach for the women's cross country team and as an assistant coach with the track & field team. Throughout her six-year collegiate coaching career, Arndt-Molis has continuously led her athletes to the regional and national spotlight, both in competition and in the classroom.
The 2006-07 season was Arndt-Molis' most successful to date, during which she was acknowledged as the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year. The men's team, which finished in seventh place at the Big Ten Championships, ran its way to a fourth-place finish, the best since a third-place finish in 2001. The team came in fourth at the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals and then moved on to a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Championships after being absent in 2005.
On the women's side, she led the 2006 team to a Great Lakes Regional title, the team's first since 1981. Alissa McKaig led the way with teammate Michelle Rafferty at the NCAA Championship placing 12th en route to All-America honors.
The 2007 track & field season also proved to be a filled with accolades for Arndt-Molis and her teams. Nicole Bush made her second appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and finished in sixth place, breaking her own school record. Two other Spartans also made appearances at the Outdoor Championships; Sarah Price also competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and McKaig ran in the 5,000-meter run. By the end of the track and field season, Arndt-Molis had one All-Big Ten honoree, three All-Mideast Regional athletes and one All-American.
In the 2005 cross country season, Arndt-Molis guided the women's program to its fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship, demonstrating the stability of the Spartan program and turning in a 30th-place finish. En route to its national qualifying, MSU finished fifth at the Great Lakes Regional, where Arndt-Molis helped both Rafferty and Lisa Senakiewich to top-25 finishes and All-Region honors. The women's cross country team boasted a team GPA of 3.61, earning Academic All-America accolades.
During the 2006 track & field season, Arndt-Molis mentored four NCAA Regional Championships qualifiers - both Emily Adama and Bush in the 3,000m steeplechase, Rafferty in the 5000m, as well as Aimee Keenan in the 800m. Taking fourth at the NCAA Regional meet, Bush qualified for the NCAA Championships where she posted the fifth-fastest time in the nation, earning All-America status. Bush's championship run also set the then school record in the event, with a time of 10:01.04.
In her first season at Michigan State, Arndt-Molis led the 2004 women's cross country team to a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championship, where she coached Danette Doetzel to All-America honors with a 12th-place performance. That season, the Spartans took third at the regional meet, and Katie Kelly, Rafferty and Doetzel were tabbed All-Regional runners. MSU was productive on the conference stage as well, finishing tied as runner-up with Illinois at the Big Ten Championships, with two Spartans collecting All-Big Ten accolades. MSU excelled in the classroom, earning Academic All-America recognition with its 3.52 team GPA.
During the 2005 track season, Arndt-Molis guided the distance medley relay team to a school record (11:29.69) and a second-place showing at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. In the outdoor season, Rafferty was named Second-Team All-Big Ten and finished runner-up in the 10,000m at the Big Ten Championships. A total of four distance runners qualified provisionally for the NCAA Championships and two athletes advanced to the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships.
Before arriving at Michigan State, Arndt-Molis served two seasons as an assistant coach for cross country and track & field programs at the University of South Florida. There, she helped the USF Bulls produce 43 all-conference athletes, 10 all-region performers and three NCAA qualifiers. In addition, Arndt-Molis coached the school's first-ever cross country All-American (Christa Benton) and USF's first conference men's cross country champion (Andrew Smith). The Bulls also saw success in the track season, shattering the men's 4x800 relay school record. The USF coaching staff was recognized as the 2003 Conference USA Coaching Staff of the Year.
A Saline, Mich. native, Arndt-Molis was a member of the Michigan State cross country and track & field teams from 1996-98, before finishing out her collegiate career at South Florida, where she was a six-time NCAA qualifier and a three-time Academic All-American from 1998-2001. At USF, Arndt-Molis helped the women's cross country team to its first-ever Conference USA Championship and a first-time berth to the NCAA Championships in 1998. The team repeated the performance in 1999 and 2000.
Arndt-Molis earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications, majoring in public relations, from USF in 2001. Maintaining a 3.61 grade-point average, she was tabbed a CoSIDA/Verizon Academic All-American. Additionally, she served as President of USF's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years.
Arndt-Molis is a 2006 graduate of the NCAA Women's Coaching Academy and is a member of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, in addition to the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA).
Arndt-Molis is married to Tim Molis, a 1997 mechanical engineering graduate of MSU, and resides in Portland, Mich.