Reigning two-time MSC Cross Country Coach of the Year, Eric Putnam, enters his seventh year as the men's cross country coach in 2012. He is coming off of a ninth place finish at the NAIA Championships and second straight MSC Championship. In the two prior seasons (2009-10), he led the Bears to back-to-back fourth place finishes in the national meet.
In the fall of 2010, the Bears were ranked fourth and above in every NAIA cross country poll. They also won the Mid-South Conference title, which was the team's first conference title in the 13 year program history. During his fifth year as the head coach of men's cross country team, the Bears finished a program high 4th place in a 32 team field at the NAIA Championship. Their highest finish before was 11th in 2008. The men's team also finished third at the All-Ohio Championship, a program best, and second at the AMC Championship. Corey Culbertson became the second runner in men's history to become an NAIA All-American finishing 24th place.
During his fourth year at Shawnee State, Coach Putnam led the Bears to an 11th place finishing a 32 team field at the NAIA Championship. This was the second time in four years that the men's team qualified to nationals with Putnam has head coach.
In addition to the most recent accomplishments the men have finished no less than third in their conference and have also been ranked in the top 25 poll every year under Coach Putnam's leadership.
Prior to joining Shawnee State, Putnam coached Chillicothe High School to a district championship in 2003 and district runner-up in 2004. In 2003, two of the Chillicothe runners qualified for the state championship meet. He also served as an assistant cross country and track coach at Xavier University for two seasons (2001-03).
A graduate of Ohio University, Putnam also enjoyed a very successful collegiate running career. From 1991-96 he ran cross country and track and field for the Bobcats, earning seven varsity letters. He earned All-Mid American Conference honors seven times. He was the individual MAC champion in the 1500 meter run in 1996, running 3:48. He was co-MVP of the team in 1996 and was a three-time team captain.
Putnam established many accomplishments through his high school career at Chillicothe High School. He was a four-time state individual cross country qualifier in Division I, including a state runner-up finish in 1989. He was also a three-time state qualifier in track and field, including a fourth place finish in the 1600 meter run and fifth in the 3200 meter relay in 1991.
He has been winning road races of various distances all over Ohio for more than a decade. He was the 2005 Run Ohio Grand Prix Co-Champion in 2005 and the 2006 Huntington Half Marathon Champion with a time of 1:09:04. Putnam has also won the Shawnee State Bear run a record 10 times.
Putnam resides in Portsmouth with his wife, Krista, and sons, Charles and Ian.