Entering her fourth year at the University of South Florida in the 2011-12 season as an assistant coach, Dena Reif holds coaching responsibilities of mid- to long-distance events in track and field as well as serving as the primary coach for the men's and women's cross country teams. Reif's prior coaching experience spans a decade and a half and brings a wealth of knowledge to the USF staff.
Reif's second year with the Bulls in 2009-10 saw sophomore Nicole Rozario explode onto the scene in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Rozario set the school record in the second meet of the season, and didn't slow down from there, eventually landing at the NCAA Championships.
In doing so, Rozario became the first female athlete at USF to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships in the steeplechase. That followed a fifth-place showing at both the NCAA East Prelim and the BIG EAST Championships.
The indoor campaign saw the both the men's and women's DMR take sixth at the BIG EAST Championships, while sophomore Allie Prendergast set the outdoor school record in the 3,000 meters.
The women's cross country team took 12th at the BIG EAST Championships in 2009, while the men finished 13th. Sophomore Nicole Rozario took 43rd individually at the championship meet, the second-highest finish ever for a cross country runner - men or women - in five years in the BIG EAST.
The women also had their highest finish in five years at the NCAA South Regional with a 12th-place finish there as well.
In addition, the women's cross country team earned its third-straight USTFCCCA Division I All-Academic team honor following the 2009 season, while the men were also named an all-academic squad.
During her first season as the assistant coach in charge of cross country, Reif led the women's team to several outstanding performances in 2008, including a first-place finish at both the UCF Black and Gold Challenge and the FSU Invitational, as well as a second-place finish at the Mountain Dew Invite and a third-place mark at the Disney Invitational.
Reif also led the women to 10th at the BIG EAST Championships and 14th at the NCAA Regional at Knoxville, Tenn.
During the 2008-09 track and field season, freshman Allie Prendergast qualified for the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000 meters, placing eighth overall, one of four USF athletes to compete at the championships.
The Memphis native moved from her hometown to Tampa to join the USF staff prior to the 2008-09 season after serving as the boys track coach during the 2007-08 school year at Memphis Catholic High School.
Reif's impressive resume was recognized by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where she spent four years from 2002 until 2006 as the women's head track and field/cross country coach. She was recognized in 2005 as the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Track Coach of the Year for the women's outdoor season. Reif's squad took second at the conference meet that year, its highest finish ever, while one of her athletes, Cheri Manning, was named MVP of the meet.
The track team's outstanding performance during the 2005 outdoor season followed a successful run by the women's cross country team in 2004, as the women also accomplished their highest finish ever, a second-place showing at the conference meet. Reif's coaching performance at VCU is still in effect today, as a total of 20 school records at VCU are held by athletes whom Reif mentored during her time with the Rams.
Reif arrived at VCU after a five-year stint at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she worked with the cross country and track and field teams from 1997-2002. She was hired before the 1997 fall season, serving as the assistant men's and women's cross country/track and field coach from 1997-99. Reif was then named the head men's and women's cross country coach and held that title from 1999-2002 in addition to her assistant coaching duties with the track team.
In didn't take long for Reif to make an impact with the Golden Eagles, as she was named the men's 1997 Conference USA Cross Country Coach of the Year in her first year with the program. Two years later, the men's squad won both the Conference USA title and the NCAA South Regional Championship. Four of her athletes were named all-Conference after finishing first, second, fourth and eighth at the championship meet, while Paul Kemei was tabbed the conference MVP. In addition, Golden Eagle runners earned five athlete of the week honors during the regular season.
Then, in 2001, Janet Rono qualified for the NCAA Championships after finishing third at regionals, the first time in USM history a woman cross country runner earned a chance to compete at nationals.
Reif's duties at USM also included recruiting coordinator, travel, equipment, scheduling and practice implementation.
Before her time at Southern Miss, Reif was a volunteer and then a graduate assistant coach at her alma mater, the University of Memphis. Reif began her time with the Tigers as a volunteer assistant women's distance coach during the 1995 indoor and outdoor seasons. She was then named a graduate assistant coach, serving as the head women's cross country coach and the assistant women's track and field coach from 1995-97.
In addition to her coaching responsibilities, Reif's duties at Memphis, Southern Miss and Virginia Commonwealth included recruiting coordinator, travel, scheduling, equipment and practice planning.
Reif's collegiate coaching experience began back to 1994, when she first worked at Purdue as a volunteer women's cross country coach during the 1994 fall season.
Reif earned a bachelor of science degree in education (exercise and sport science) from Memphis in Aug. 1994. Reif and her husband, Jim, have a five-year-old daughter, Brooke.