The Stoughton resident, who is one of the top Division 2 coaches nationally, is moving from head coach to an assistant coach on the Skyhawks men's and women's track teams but will remaining as the men's and women's cross country head coach.
EASTON – She was originally hired to be the part-time women's cross country coach at Stonehill College in 1997.
Karen Boen was working in the cardiology department at Morton Hospital in Taunton and raising three children with her husband, Carl, at the time, so it figured to be a hectic experience.
Little did Boen, a Stoughton resident, know exactly how hectic things were going to get.
Her duties at Stonehill quickly expanded and she also became the head coach of the women's indoor and outdoor track & field teams and took over as the head coach of the men's cross country plus the indoor and outdoor track & field teams in 2000.
From August until May, Boen's schedule was full with six teams to oversee.
And through the years, Boen developed highly competitive programs at Stonehill, winning numerous Northeast-10 Conference and East Regional championships in cross country and track & field.
One of the top Division 2 coaches in the country, Boen has decided to scale back her work load starting in the 2019-20 academic year.
She will remain as the men's and women's cross country coach, but Boen will be an assistant men's and women's track & field coach during the winter and spring seasons, working with the distance runners.
Mike Delgado, a standout athlete at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High and the University of Connecticut, has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach of the four track & field teams.
"It has grown to the point where it's bigger than me,″ said Boen of her decision to stop being the head track & field coach. "I don't want to stop coaching. I just didn't want to be responsible for every aspect of it, the budget and travel.
"It was actually starting to impinge as much on my coach, the administration of it. I thought about three or four years ago, how would I cut back? The first thing is to have a good staff. The staff was in place. What more could I do? Now there'll be new ideas. The coaches have paid their dues.″
Boen's six teams have won 37 NE-10 championships and she has been selected the coach of the year by the NE-10 and the U.S. Track & Field Coaches Association 64 times.
The Stonehill women have won 12 straight NE-10 championships (cross country, indoor and outdoor track) and 17 of the last 18 titles. There have been dozens of All-America performers under Boen, including Corey Thomas, who won the 2011 high jump national title at the indoor meet.
The accomplishments have piled up after Boen started building the Skyhawks from the ground up more than two decades ago.
"There were only seven people on the team that first year,″ said Boen, thinking back to her initial women's cross country season in '97. "Anything I did was going to help them. I think I would have been our No. 1 runner that first year, and I was 40.
"I remember needing bodies to just be able to score at meets. Then Laura Trull (of Randolph) came in my first recruit and it started taking off.″
The Stonehill women have won 17 NE-10 cross country championships under Boen, including the last 10 in a row, and have won eight NCAA Division 2 East Regional crowns. The men's cross country team has eight conference titles and five East Regional championships.
The women's indoor track & field team has five NE-10 titles and the outdoor team has won four while the men's team has six titles.
There was improvement each and every year in cross country and track & field. The men's cross country team placed 41st in the region in 2000, and three years later had jumped to the fourth spot.
"I think a lot of it was finding the right fit for Stonehill,″ said Boen, a member of the school's Athletics Hall of Fame. "We held them more accountable. Before, they didn't have to run in the summer to get ready. People want to belong to something special. If everybody can do it it's not a big deal. It wasn't just show up when you feel like it. There was a lot of accountability and commitment going on.
"It was getting the kids that other people weren't interested in and developing them. I still love developing kids. I love Division 2 for that reason.″
The head coaching job at Stonehill was the first for Boen, who was a runner at Bridgewater State and had coached athletes looking to improve as runners.
Boen made a smooth transition to coaching the men not long after arriving at Stonehill.
"It wasn't a problem,″ she said. "I was on the men's team my first year of college because there wasn't a women's team. I had all brothers. I had been coached my whole life by men. So it wasn't difficult at all.″
Boen will start getting her cross country teams ready for the 2019 season in August, then work with the distance runners in the winter and spring as an assistant coach.
She is still driven to coach, only now she will be in charge of just two of the six programs.
"I still coach out of that fear that I don't want it to be the first team not to accomplish something,″ said Boen.
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