Eastern Mennonite University has announced the resignation of Associate Cross Country/Track & Field Coach Erick Camodeca, effective at the end of the fall semester. He has accepted a position as the head cross country and track & field coach at his alma mater, Goucher College.
Camodeca was midway through his second season at EMU, working alongside Head Coach Bob Hepler. He had also taken on administrative responsibilities as an assistant director of athletics.
"I cannot thank Bob Hepler and (Director of Athletics) Dave King enough for the amazing opportunity they provided me," Camodeca said. "They encouraged and empowered me to grow as a person, coach, and administrator. Prior to coming EMU, I was looking for a school that lined up with who I am as a person and what I believe in. Reading through EMU's mission statement and values, it seemed to be a perfect fit. Since the first day I stepped on campus and to this day EMU has lived up to those expectations."
King said Camodeca's departure is a significant loss for both EMU Athletics and the university as a whole.
"What Erick contributed in his 18 months at EMU would take most of us years to contribute," King explained. "During his hiring process, Erick asked if he could be engaged in things outside of Athletics and he delivered by engaging with things such as Convocation, CODI, Title IX, and a variety of committees."
Camodeca said his involvement around campus made the decision to leave even tougher.
"The EMU community from faculty, staff, administrators, and students readily embraced me into their family," he said. "EMU became a place I saw myself being at for a long time for so many wonderful reasons. The challenge for me during my time at EMU was that my family had to remain in Baltimore since my arrival in July 2018. Unexpectedly this position opened at my alma mater, but despite my desire for the position and wanting to be with my family on a daily basis, this was not an easy decision."
Under Camodeca's leadership and training regimens, the Royals track & field teams produced five All-Region awards last year. Then-senior Grant Amoateng earned his first-ever trip to the indoor national meet before going to his third outdoor nationals in the triple jump.
Along with triggering the growth of the existing athletes when he arrived, Camodeca helped recruit last year's strong freshmen class, including Michaela Chowning who worked through a knee injury to advance to outdoor nationals in the high jump.
"Erick embraced EMU, conveyed our values to recruits and built a culture of hard work and pride in his teams," King said. "The track and field teams have been on an upward, positive trajectory since his arrival both in numbers and quality of performance, as well as character. The team clearly reflects his values. As much as it hurts to see him go, I understand and support the return to his alma mater. He is returning to Goucher for the same reasons that many staff and faculty are currently working here at EMU. Commitment to his family and loyalty to his alma mater are qualities that are honorable and I wish him the best in his new role."
This fall, many of the EMU cross country runners broke their PRs each week. Camodeca also worked with the running form of senior Abigail Shelly, who developed into the top runner on the women's cross country team while also earning a trip to last weekend's nationals in Eastern Mennonite's first-ever season of triathlon.
"This team is by far the best team I have ever coached," said Camodeca. "We created a culture of respect, trust, and value. The value of relationships between friends, family, co-workers, and teammates is the thing I cherish most and will take away from here. EMU will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish everyone the best and look forward to how this team and university will continue to lead into the future."
King said the search for Camodeca's replacement would begin immediately.