"Coach McDonough has changed the face of middle and long distance running at UConn in an amazingly short period of time. Bringing her onto the staff from the professional ranks of her running career has certainly made us a viable program as a destination school to the emerging and elite high school distance runner."
Head Coach Bill Morgan
Andrea Grove-McDonough begins her fifth year as assistant women's track & field and concluded her second year as the head coach of cross country after working with the team for three seasons. Responsible for cross country and the middle distance/distance events on the track, Grove-McDonough has rapidly improved the cross country program and distance corps at Connecticut. In 2011, the cross country team was nationally ranked for the first time in program history followed by the Huskies reaching their first ever NCAA Championships in 2012 after their highest ranking of fourteenth.
Grove-McDonough has also helped to continue the high standards of academic success at UConn. The 2009, 2010 and 2011 cross country teams were honored as a USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. 2010 graduate Sara Leslie was honored with the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award. The award is given to one student-athlete in each BIG EAST sport based on academic credentials, athletic accolades or performances and volunteer service to the community. Student-athletes who attained junior academic standing and a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 are eligible. The winners are chosen by the BIG EAST Faculty Athletics Representative Council.
The 2012 cross country campaign set a new precedent for the continually growing success of the team as the Huskies reached their first NCAA Championships taking home an impressive eighth place and best ranking of 14th place. The squad had their best results at both the BIG EAST Championships and Northeast Regionals taking home second place at both earning Grove-McDonough BIG EAST Cross Country Coaching Staff of the Year and Northeast Region Coach of the Year.
After making great strides in the 2009-10/2010-11 cross country seasons, Grove-McDonough led the Huskies to several program milestones in the 2011-12 campaign. The Huskies were nationally ranked (No. 28) for the first time in program history and sophomore Lauren Sara became only the fourth UConn runner to advance to the NCAA Championships as an individual. The Huskies greatly improved at the Penn State Invitational where they captured a second place finish coming ahead of nationally ranked teams, a common occurrence in the 2011 season.
Under Grove-McDonough's guidance, the distance runners have continued to set new school records and earn All-America status. In 2010-11, the Huskies broke the 800m, 1,000m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 3,000m Steeplechase, 10,000m and the 4x800m school records. Heather Wilson and Brigitte Mania were named Indoor All-Americans, while Megan Cunningham, Brigitte Mania and Lauren Sara earned Outdoor Honorable Mention All-America.
Before beginning her coaching career at UConn, Grove-McDonough enjoyed a highly successful professional career in which she won two National Titles and competed internationally in every event from the 800m to the 10,000m. In 2008 Grove-McDonough won the Canadian Olympic Trials in the 10,000m and posted the seventh fastest time in Canadian history in the event. During her twelve years as a professional athlete, Grove-McDonough was a seven time National Team Member, a finalist in the 1,500m at the 1999 World University Games in Palma de Mallorca, Spain and was selected to represent Canada at the 2008 Chiba Ekiden relay in Japan. She also finished ninth at the 2007 Canadian World Cross Country Trials.
Grove-McDonough has garnered an impressive record of six top-three finishes at the Canadian National Championships. She was ranked second in Canada in the 5,000m in 2002, 2006 and 2007 as well as being the No. 1-ranked 10,000m runner in 2008. She holds personal bests of 2:07.12 for 800m, 4:11.04 for 1,500m, 15:31.29 for 5,000m and 32:29.86 in the 10,000m.
Grove-McDonough was also a standout performer throughout her collegiate career at the University of Minnesota, culminating with a fifth place finish in the 1,500m at the 1996 NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she earned All-American status. She also represented the University of Minnesota in the mile at the 1995 Indoor NCAA Championships. Grove-McDonough was a captain for the Gophers from 1994-1996 and an All-Big Ten Academic Selection. She holds a degree from the University of Minnesota in Human Resource Management.
Grove-McDonough returned to the collegiate scene in 2007 when she helped coach the men's and women's cross country squads at the University of Montana. She began coaching and managing elite-level athletes in the middle and long distance events beginning in 2006, including coaching an athlete that represented Canada at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships in Ireland.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Grove-McDonough lived in Missoula, Montana for twelve years and now resides in Mansfield, Conn. with her husband, former All-American decathlete, Troy McDonough.