Mark Bluman, 45, prepares for his 19th year as head coach for men's and women's cross country at Francis Marion University. He also serves as the track and field coach in the spring.
A native of White Oak, Pa., he joined the FMU staff in 2001 succeeding longtime head coach Dr. Thomas Whiteley, who retired after 24 years at the helm of the Patriot programs.
Under Bluman, the men's squads at Francis Marion have placed eighth (2018), seventh (2017), 10th (2016), 10th (2015), 10th (2014), 10th (2013), ninth (2012), eighth (2011), eighth (2010), seventh (2009), fifth (2008), fifth (2007), fifth (2006), sixth (2005), sixth (2004), fifth (2003), fifth (2002), and eighth (2001) at the Peach Belt Conference championships. At the 2018 NCAA Division II Southeast Region Meet, Francis Marion placed 22nd, after finishing 20th in 2017, 22nd in 2016, 20th in 2015, 23rd in 2011, 25th in 2010, 22nd in 2009, 15th in 2008. Prior to regional realignment, the Patriot men finished 18th (2007), 17th (2006), 18th (2005), 18th (2004), 13th (2003), 15th (2002), and 19th (2001) at the South Region Meet.
His women's teams at FMU have placed ninth (2018), eighth (2017), 12th (2016), 12th (2015), 10th (2014), 12th (2013), 12th (2012), ninth (2011), 10th (2010), 10th (2009), ninth (2008), sixth (2007), seventh (2006), ninth (2005), sixth (2004), eighth (2003), 10th (2002), and 11th (2001) at the Peach Belt championships. At the 2018 NCAA Division II Southeast Region Meet, Francis Marion finished 21st, after placing 21st in 2017, 23rd in 2013, 24th in 2011, 25th in 2010, 23rd in 2009, 20th in 2008. Prior to regional realignment, the Patriot women finished 21st in 2007, 18th in 2006 and 20th in 2004, but did not score in 2005 at the South Region championships.
In 2018, one of his runners (Emma Driggers) garnered Google Cloud Academic All-America honors for Division II, while in 2016 another of his runners (Javier Bustos-Jaimes) earned the prestigious Elite 15 Award presented by the Education Advisory Board (EAB) at the PBC awards ceremony.
Both his 2017 men's and women's squads were named to the USTFCCCA list of All-Academic Teams, after the women garnered the same honor in 2013 and 2010 and both the men's and women's programs earned the honor in 2009. His 2006 Patriot men's squad also earned national All-Academic team honors. His teams have produced four USTFCCCA All-Academic Team selections: freshman Devin Nelson in 2014, senior Ian Wallace in 2012, senior Amanda Doyle in 2009, and senior Patrick Hopewell in 2006.
His 2008 men's squad earned the PBC Team Sportsmanship Award. A member of that team, Hillary Kiprop, was named the Peach Belt Conference Runner of the Year and recieved All-Conference and All-Region recognition.
Runners from the FMU women's squad have earned All-PBC honors on five occasions.
Bluman came to Francis Marion from Bluffton College, an NCAA Division III school in Bluffton, Ohio. He was head coach of the Beavers' cross country and track and field teams (men's and women's) for three years. Bluffton is a member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
At Bluffton, he rebuilt the men's and women's cross country programs into competitive squads. In 2000, his very young teams both placed fifth at the HCAC championship meet, the then-highest finish ever for the two programs. In the spring of 2001, the Beaver men placed fifth and the women sixth at the conference track and field championship meet.
Bluman guided the Bluffton women's cross country team to Academic All-America team awards in 1998 and 1999.
He earned the B.A. degree (cum laude) in communications and the M.A. degree (cum laude) in social sciences from California University of Pennsylvania. He also received the USA Track and Field Level 1 coaching certificate in 2000. While an undergraduate student, he lettered for four years on the Vulcan cross country team and one year on the track and field squad. He later served as a graduate assistant coach for both squads during the 1996-97 season.
Prior to joining the Bluffton staff in 1998, Bluman was the head distance coach and assistant track and field coach at Brentwood High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Brentwood boys' squad placed first at the WPIAL Section 7 Double A meet, while the girls' team finished second.
Bluman also serves as the athletics business manager for the Francis Marion University athletic program, and directs the university's annual summer Activities Camp for children.
He is married and has two children.