Eric Blake is currently in his 12th season as the head coach for the men’s cross country and track teams, while in his 11th season as head coach for the women’s cross country and track programs. Blake, a 2002 CCSU graduate, was appointed the head coach of the men's teams in August of 2009 and head coach of the women's programs in August of 2010. Combined, Blake has won 18 Northeast Conference Championships as a head coach (11-XC, 7-Track).
The Blue Devil men’s cross country program won nine-straight Northeast Conference Cross Country Championship from 2009-17 under Blake's direction. The Blue Devil’s recorded a perfect score at the NEC championship in 2014, as all five-scoring runners finished one through five, setting a NEC record. The Blue Devils are the first team in any sport in league history to win nine straight titles, and just the sixth overall program in league history to win at least seven straight titles.
Coach Blake has coached nine different Blue Devils to individual cross country titles/outstanding performer awards in his career. On the men’s side Blake coached five individual winners over the nine-year stretch of team titles and the 2019 individual champion, Roberto Piotto. On the women’s side he saw an individual winner cross the finish line in 2011 (Alasia Griebel), in 2014 (Elizabeth Eberhardt), and back-to-back individual championships from Brittany Mendelson (2015-16) and Angie Rafter (2018-19). Blake also had an athlete win the freshman of the year award in 2014 (Colin Sauter), 2015 (Austin Trainor), 2017 (Jon Gill, Megan Brawner), 2018 (Ashley Dana), and 2019 (Elias Field, Brooke Morabito).
Blake has also had one athlete qualify and compete at the Cross Country NCAA Championship Qualifier meet (Criag Hunt - 2013), another at the Indoor Track & Field NCAA Championship Qualifier (Aaron Radden, 200m, 2012), and 16 athletes qualify for the Outdoor Track & Field NCAA Preliminary Rounds.
Over the past ten years as head coach of the men's and women's cross country programs, Blake has seen over 60 athletes earn all-conference honors.
Blake has helped the Blue Devil track and field program complete an incredible turn around as well. With Blake at the helm, CCSU captured the program’s first outdoor track and field championship in 2014 (Men) and since then won four consecutive titles (2014-17). One the women's side, Blake led the track & field team to its first outdoor championship in program history (2019) by a .5 point margin. In 2017 the team totaled 142 points earning a NEC Runner-Up finish while scoring the most points collectively in program history. Mendelson won back-to-back 5K championships (2016-17) as well as the 10K title in 2017 en route to being named the NEC's Most Outstanding Distance Performer (2016-17). Rafter and teammate Megan Brawner shared the Most Outstanding Performer (Distance) honors at the 2020 indoor championships, with each winning two individual titles and helping lead the DMR to a gold medal.
He also led the men’s indoor track and field team to victory at the 2011 and 2018 NEC Indoor Track and Field Championships. Blake earned NEC Coach of the Year honors after both titles and the 2011 indoor title completed a worst-to-first turn around over only three seasons from 2009-2011.
Coach Blake has coached two indoor track rookies of the year (Aaron Radden - 2010, Denzell Jones - 2011) and also two indoor track MVP's (Aaron Radden - 2010, 2011) on the men's side. From the women's team, Blake coached the 2013 indoor track outstanding field performer (Ronea Saunders) and Sierra Nesmith, who holds five CCSU school records (three indoor, two outdoor) and won four NEC individual titles her senior year.
A four-year member of the cross country and track teams while at Central, Blake graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in education (mathematics). Prior to attending CCSU, the Lebanon, CT native was the 1996 state open cross country champion.
Blake earned a master's degree from Adams State College, where he was a member of the school's Division II cross country and track teams. Following his graduation from Adams State, Blake was the head coach for the Plattsburgh State men's and women's cross country teams. He also was an assistant coach for the track and field squads. He served as an assistant with the Blue Devils prior to his appointment as head coach in August 2009.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I look forward to working with and developing both our men's and women's programs," Blake said following the announcement. "My first year as a head coach at my alma mater was a very rewarding one. Our men's team worked hard and competed at a high level throughout the cross country and track seasons. I am excited about creating a similar work ethic and championship attitude with our women's program."
Blake is currently a eight-time member of the USATF Mountain Running Team and four time winner at the Mount Washington Road Race, including 2019. In addition to being a USA Track and Field member, he is also a USATF certified Level 1, 2 and 3 Coach. In 2004, Blake qualified and competed at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Birmingham, Alabama and finished the 26.2 mile race 33rd with a time of 2:22.44. He set a world record in 2006, running a marathon on the treadmill in 2:21.40.
Blake is also a four-time winner of the Mount Washington Road Race (2006, 2008, 2013, 2019) and was inducted into the Mount Washington Road Hall of Fame in 2015. Blake holds the Connecticut and New York state records for the 154-year-old, 7.6-mile, uphill race on the Mount Washington Auto Road. He is one of only eight people to complete the race in under sixty minutes, and has run the race in 1:02 more times than any other runner.
Blake resides in West Hartford with his wife, Anne, and son, Curtis.