Under Eric Putnam, the two-time reigning MSC Coach of the Year, the women's cross country team has reached new heights. Putnam enters his sixth season as the women's coach in 2012. He is also the head coach of the men's cross country team.
In 2011, Putnam led Shawnee State to one of their most successful season in the women's program's 13 year history. The women qualified for the NAIA National Championship and won the Mid-South Conference Championship for the second consecutive season. Putnam won Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year honors for both the men and the women. The women took 21st at the NAIA Championship in 2011, a year after finishing 25th at the national meet.
During the 2009 season, the women finished third at the AMC Championship and sent three individuals to the NAIA meet. The women's team was ranked as high as 23rd in the NAIA cross country poll during that time.
In his third season as head women's cross country coach, he led Shawnee State to its first NAIA National Championship as a team. The team finished 13th place out of the 32 team field. Lisa Davies placed 17th to earn All-America honors for the second straight year. Star Emmert placed 27th to earn All-America honors for the second time. In addition to the success on the field, the women's team also had five NAIA Scholar Athletes.
In his first two seasons as coach at Shawnee State, the women's team placed fifth in the AMC in 2006 and 4th in 2007.
Prior to joining Shawnee State, Putnam was the head cross country coach at Chillicothe High School for two seasons. Putnam led Chillicothe to a district championship in 2003 in which two of the runners qualified for the state championship meet. In 2004, his team finished as district runner-up. Putnam also served as an assistant cross country and track coach at Xavier University (2001–03).
A graduate of Ohio University, Putnam also enjoyed a very successful collegiate running career where he ran cross country and track and field for the Bobcats (1991-96), 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 Ohio University track 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 fourth place finish in the 1600 meter run and fifth place run in the 3200 meter relay in 1991.
Putnam has been winning road races at various distances all over Ohio for more than a decade. He was the Run Ohio Grand Prix Champion in 2005-2007 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 his sons, Charles and Ian.