Keene State College cross country and track and field head coach Tom Pickering has announced his resignation, effective Dec. 20.

“I feel that the time is right, at the end of this semester, and after the conclusion of the current cross-country season, for me to move on to explore other opportunities and to continue to learn and grow as a person and professional,” Pickering said.

After three years as an assistant coach, Pickering was installed as the interim coach for the program in October 2014, after longtime coach Peter Thomas left the program, and was was named permanently to the post in April 2015. He led KSC to three women’s Little East Conference cross country championships (2015, 2016, 2018), while the men’s team captured the LEC championship in 2015 and were second in both 2016 and 2017.

“The past five years at Keene State have been a very special experience for me. It has been a period of significant challenge and change at the college. I have had the rare opportunity to work with five different athletic directors at Keene State since 2014. I am especially thankful for the privilege of sharing countless mutual-growth experiences with the student-athletes and coaches with whom I have had the pleasure of working daily ...” he said.

Phil Raciot, KSC director of athletics and recreation, said Pickering will be missed. “He has been deeply committed to the success of his student-athletes, and Keene State thanks him for his commitment to the program over that time. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

In cross country, Pickering guided the Owl women to a team qualification for the NCAA Championships in 2015, while that same year, Hayden Patterson became the first KSC men’s cross country runner to qualify individually since 2013.

Keene State will begin a national search to find Pickering’s replacement, the college said.