Mark James Steps Down as the Seawolves' Cross Country Coach

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. – After spending six seasons as the head coach of the Sonoma State women's cross country team, Mark James has stepped down to focus on a new full-time position as a Civilian Navy SEAL Instructor in San Diego, effective immediately.  With James' departure, assistant coach Sean Fitzpatrick will take over as the interim head coach.

“Mark accomplished several significant projects during his six years as head coach," SSU senior director of intercollegiate athletics Bill Fusco said.  "The establishment of the Seawolf Invitational, women's cross country's only home event, was a major step for the program to institute a home event for the sport, which is now an annual event every September."

"He was also part of a tremendous effort when SSU hosted the 2011 CCAA Cross County Championships at Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa," Fusco added.

"I have had a great time at SSU," James added.  "Six cross country seasons later, I feel blessed to have worked with some great student-athletes, assistant coaches and department staff members."

James took over the reigns of the Sonoma State cross country team in 2007 as the program's second head coach since 1999.

Sean Fitzpatrick
Sean Fitzpatrick

Sean Fitzpatrick, who has served as an assistant coach for James in each of the past two seasons, will assume the position of interim head coach, effective immediately.

“Naming Sean as the interim head coach for women's cross country was an easy decision," said Fusco.  "Sean's rapport with our student-athletes is excellent.  He has the experience and dedication to this program that will keep things going in the right direction.”

Fitzpatrick is well-known in the local running community as he has coached the Santa Rosa Express for the past 14 years and the cross country teams at Santa Rosa High School for the past 11 years. 

He also competed at the collegiate level, spending a couple of seasons at both Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and at Santa Rosa Junior College.  Sean earned his bachelor's degree in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly SLO in 1996.