Porterville College Director of Student Programs & Athletics Joe Cascio announced the hiring of Michael Kasimoff as new head coach of the Pirates’ cross country teams.

Kasimoff, a former head coach at Granite Hills High School in Porterville, will lead a second-year women’s cross country team as well as the newly formed men’s program that hits the trails for the first time at PC this upcoming fall 2019 season.

With an impressive pool of candidates for the position, Cascio feels PC has the right individual to build on the foundation set by last year’s women’s cross country squad.

“We are very excited to have Coach Kasimoff join our coaching staff,” said Cascio. “He brings a wealth of coaching experience along with a deep connection to the Porterville community.”

For the past three years (2017-19), Kasimoff served as the head coach of the Granite Hills track and field program and was an assistant coach to the football team. Prior to Granite Hills, Kasimoff was an assistant coach for the Porterville High School track and football teams from 2013-17.

Being able to coach at the next level in his local community is what drew Kasimoff to the position and he looks forward to the future challenges and rewards.

“I’m honored and excited to be selected as the new head coach at PC,” said Kasimoff. “Opportunities like this one do not come open very often, so I’m thrilled to have been considered for the position and ready to put in the hard work.”

Kasimoff is no stranger to Porterville, having graduated from Monache High School in 2007 before attending PC for two years from 2007-09. He went on to earn his bachelor’s in history from Long Beach State in 2012 and received his master’s in teaching from Bard College of New York in 2013.

With less than three months until the Pirates’ season-opening meet at the Fresno Invitational on Sept. 7, Kasimoff will have limited time to recruit and prepare his student athletes for the 2019 season. But he’s up for the task.

His first step is getting the word out to potential student-athletes cross country is now an official sport at the college.

“My guess is most people are unaware that cross country is offered for both men and women at PC, so continuing to raise our sport’s visibility within our campus and community is my top priority.”

Kasimoff realizes it will take time to build a strong cross country program, but has the support of Cascio and the college to do it.

“I expect that Coach Kasimoff will use this year to lay the foundation for both the men’s and women’s programs through community outreach,” said Cascio. “This has the potential to be a great season for both teams.”

Kasimoff has simple goals for this first season. He hopes to recruit hardworking athletes who want to find success on the trails and in the classroom.

“Day in and day out, I want our student-athletes to get better,” he said. “We want to focus on each individual athlete, set academic and athletic goals, and achieve those goals. Ultimately, graduating from PC as a student-athlete is the two-year goal but setting those goals in between starting college and graduating, that is where I would like to make cross country at PC the most rewarding athletic experience any student-athlete can have.”

Kasimoff is still in search of student-athletes to join both the men’s and women’s cross country teams. Those interested can contact him by email at michael.kasimoff@portervillecollege.edu.

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