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Alan Culpepper named new head coach of HOKA NAZ Elite

Ben Rosario will be stepping into an executive director position with the club to grow the team's image and marketability

Alan Culpepper

One of the top training groups in the U.S., HOKA NAZ Elite, has announced the hiring of two-time Olympian Alan Culpepper as their new head coach. Culpepper will take over from previous coach Ben Rosario, who will be stepping into an executive director position with the track club, focusing on content, corporate partnerships and community initiatives.

“We’ve been working on this for a full year, and I couldn’t be more pumped with the end result,” said Rosario in a press release. “Alan will head to Flagstaff, Ariz., on Friday, May 20, where he will step into the coaching position straight away.”

Rosario founded NAZ Elite with his wife Jen in 2014 and coached the club for eight years. During that time his athletes won five international medals and 12 national titles; in 2020, Aliphine Tuliamuk won the U.S. Marathon Trials and in 2021 she represented the U.S at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kellyn Taylor (middle) and Aliphine Tuliamuk (right) training with NAZ Elite in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Culpepper is a two-time Olympian, representing the U.S. in the 10,000m at Sydney 2000 and in the marathon at Athens 2004. At the 2002 Chicago Marathon, Culpepper had the fastest-ever debut by an American, where he ran 2:09:41 to finish sixth. Since retiring from competition in 2008, Culpepper has coached cross-country and track programs at the high school and NCAA levels.

He will step in to coach the likes of Stephanie Bruce, Kellyn Taylor, Tuliamuk and Lauren Paquette, who have already proven themselves over a variety of distances, while younger athletes such as Matt Baxter, Tyler Day, Wesley Kiptoo, Alex Masai and Katie Wasserman were all top performers on the track at the NCAA level.

Culpepper said in the press release that recruiting will be key as the team begins its expansion phase.