In her third season with Michigan State, Rita Arndt-Molis is in her first season as associate head coach for the cross country and track and field program, overseeing the training and preparation of all middle-distance and distance athletes. Promoted to the position in June 2006, Arndt-Molis served her first two seasons as the head coach for the women's cross country team and as an assistant coach with the track and field team. Throughout her five-year collegiate coaching career, Arndt-Molis has continuously led her athletes to the regional and national spotlight, both in competition and in the classroom.
In the 2005 cross country season, Arndt-Molis guided the women's program to its fifth-consecutive trip to the NCAA National Championships, demonstrating the stability of the Spartan program and turning in a 30th-place finish. En route to its national qualifying, Michigan State finished fifth at the Great Lakes Regional, where Arndt-Molis guided both Michelle 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 and field season, Arndt-Molis mentored four NCAA Regional Championships qualifiers - both Emily Adama and Nicole Bush in the 3000-meter run, Michelle Rafferty in the 5-kilometer, as well as Aimee Keenan in the 800-meter. 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-American status. Bush's championship run also set the 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 National Championships, where she coached Danette Doetzel to All-America honors, with a 12th-place performance at the NCAA Championships. That season, the Spartans took third at the regional meet and Katie Kelly, Michelle Rafferty and Doetzel were tabbed All-Regional runners. MSU was productive on the conference stage as well, finishing tied as runners-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 of its 3.52 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 10,000 meters 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 to Michigan State, Arndt-Molis served two seasons as an assistant coach for cross country and track and field programs at the University of South Florida. There, she helped the USF Bulls to 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 and 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 qualified for the NCAA Championships in 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 Verizon Academic All-American. Additionally, she served as President of USF's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years. Arndt-Molis is currently pursuing a master's degree in kinesiology from Michigan State University.
Arndt-Molis is married to Tim Molis, a 1997 mechanical engineering graduate of MSU, and resides in Portland, Mich.
Arndt-Molis can be contacted via e-mail (RitaMolis@ath.msu.edu) or her office phone (517-353-6357).
A look at the numbers - in her five-year career Rita Arndt-Molis has directly coached:
60 All-Conference Athletes (Cross Country, Track & Field)
4 Conference Champions (Cross Country, Track & Field)
1 Conference Championship Team (Track & Field)
24 All-Region Athletes (Cross Country)
4 Academic All-American Teams (Cross Country)
2 Academic All-American Individuals (Cross Country)
2 NCAA Cross Country Championship Team Qualifiers
11 NCAA Regional Qualifiers (Track & Field)
3 All-Americans (Cross Country & Track & Field)