Pennington became the head coach of both the women's cross country and track & field teams in 1985 and by this time, the team had been nationally ranked for the past 10 years in Division II. During the 1995 season, Springfield XC switched to Division III, and the team captured the Division III NCAA New England Championship. The team came in 6th of 27 competitors at the Open New England Championships, behind 5 Division I teams. The team went on to place 6th among 21 schools at the National Championships, proving that SC had one of the top women's cross country programs in the nation. SC women's cross country had advanced to the NCAA championship 9 times in the past 13 years. In 1995 athlete Julie Washburn was named All-American. In 1994, Pennington received the NE-10 and New England Women's Intercollegiate Cross Country and Track and Field Association "Coach of the Year." While coaching at Springfield College, he also served as an assistant professor of physical education.
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