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Former Mesa CC coach, six-time All-American to lead BenU Mesa cross country program

August 4, 2014

petersonLisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University at Mesa has named former Mesa Community College coach and six-time All-American runner Paul Spencer Peterson II to head the startup of its men's and women's cross-country program.

Peterson is currently the director of Enrollment Services and Academic Advisement at Mesa Community College, where he served as head men's and women's cross country coach and assistant men's and women's track and field coach from 1988 to 2001.

"I am excited to welcome Spencer Peterson to Benedictine University at Mesa and our athletic family," said Steve Schafer, associate athletic director and head golf coach at Benedictine University at Mesa. "He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our cross country program.

"Spencer's energy and passion for the sport is contagious," Schafer added. "I am excited to see him grow our cross country program from the ground floor. From the start of our search, there was no doubt in my mind that Spencer was the right person to lead our cross country program."

Peterson ran cross country and track at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Physical and Health Education. He earned a Master of Arts in Physical Education from Northern Arizona University, where he was a volunteer graduate assistant in the cross country and track and field programs.

He entered student services at Mesa Community College in 1988 while coaching track and cross country, serving initially as coordinator in the Academic Advising and Transfer Center before rising to his current position in September 2013. Peterson has also been extensively involved with charitable and community service organizations in the Mesa area.

"I am looking forward to working collaboratively with high schools, community colleges, faculty, four-year institutions, student organizations, families and all communities the University serves to help ensure that BenU at Mesa begins a successful cross country program with which all will be proud to be associated," Peterson said.

Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education to operate an accredited, degree-granting institution of higher learning in Arizona.

The Benedictine University at Mesa Redhawks will begin men's and women's cross country, golf, tennis and volleyball this fall. Men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, softball and baseball are planned for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Applications are still being accepted for fall 2014 classes. Classes begin August 25.

For more information about Benedictine, please visit or contact (602) 888-5533 or


Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2001-2011 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the third consecutive year in 2013. Education and technology blog edceteranamed Benedictine University at Mesa among 10 universities in the nation on the cutting edge of tech for 2013.

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