Rita Arndt-Molis enters her third season as an assistant track coach at MSU while also serving as the associate head women's cross country coach. She coaches MSU's distance and middle-distance runners.
In her first two years as the cross country coach, she has maintained MSU's status as an elite program. She has led MSU to consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championships and the Spartans tied for second at the 2004 Big Ten Championships. In addition, her teams have performed in the classroom, earning team Academic All-America honors during her two seasons.
Arndt-Molis made an imprint on the track and field program immediately last season, guiding the distance-medley relay team that set a school record in the event (11:29.69) and placed second at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Also under her tutelege, Michelle Rafferty earned second-team All-Big Ten honors and finished runner-up in the 10,000 meters at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. In addition, four distance runners qualified provisionally for the NCAA Championships and two athletes advanced to the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships.
Prior to coming to MSU, Arndt-Molis served for two seasons as an assistant coach for cross country and track at the University of South Florida. She coached 43 athletes that achieved all-conference honors, 10 that were all-region performers, three NCAA qualifiers and one All-American. The USF coaching staff was recognized as the 2003 Conference USA Coaching Staff of the Year.
In her first year of coaching at the collegiate level, she helped guide Andrew Smith to the Conference USA cross country title - the first ever for a men's runner at South Florida. In addition, Christa Benton would be one of three female athletes to finish in the top 10 with a second-place finish at the C-USA Championships. Benton would then advance to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships, finishing 40th - the highest finish ever for a USF woman.
Arndt-Molis, a native of Saline, Mich., was a member of the Michigan State cross country and track and field teams from 1996-98, lettering as a freshman before redshirting her sophomore year. She then transferred to South Florida, where she was a six-time NCAA qualifier and a three-time Academic All-American from 1998-2001.
While competing 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 NCAAs in 2000.
Arndt-Molis earned her bachelor of arts degree in mass communications, majoring in public relations, from USF in 2001. She was tabbed a Verizon Academic All-American and sported a 3.61 grade-point average. Arndt-Molis also served as President of USF's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Physical Education.
Prior to joining the USF coaching staff, Arndt-Molis served as a volunteer coach at Saline High School, her alma mater, in 2001. That fall, the cross country squad finished thirdd at the MHSAA 2001 state meet. During her high school days at Saline, she was a four-time all-state runner.
Arndt-Molis married to Tim Molis, a 1997 mechanical engineering graduate of MSU, in December of 2003.