Dennis Barker – The First Season

Carrie catches up with her former coach Dennis Barker! The acclaimed author comes on the show to talk about his latest book “The First Season”, as well as how the sport has changed, his experiences coaching professional athletes, finding the joy in the sport, how to parent and coach newer runners, and so much more!

Recorded April 19, 2023

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Dennis Barker

Dennis Barker is a coach and author of two running novels: The River Road and The First Season.

He is the head cross country coach and assistant track & field coach at Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota. Since starting the cross country program at Nova in 2014, he has coached 33 MSHSL State Championship qualifying teams, individuals and relays, 18 All-State finishers and 6 State Champions.

From 2001-2016 Barker was coach of the post-collegiate group Team USA Minnesota, where he coached 24 U.S. National Champions, including Olympian Carrie Tollefson, 2 USATF Running Circuit Champions, 73 top three finishers in U.S. Championships and 30 qualifiers for U.S. teams competing at the World Championships.

From 1994-2016 Barker was head cross country and track & field coach at Augsburg College, where he coached 308 All-MIAC performances, including 59 MIAC Champions, 54 NCAA Division III National Championship qualifiers and 17 All- Americans.

Barker began his running career at St. James, Minnesota high school, where he was All-State in cross country and track. He ran collegiately for Golden Valley Lutheran College in Minneapolis, where he was a national junior college All-American in track and cross country, and at Iowa State University, where he was team captain, set a school record in the 10,000 meters and competed in the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

His website can be found at and Twitter at @dbinsaintpaul

Show Notes:

Dennis Barker on Twitter
Coach Dennis Barker

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