Best of U. ..... Binghamton University's Chris Gaube
January 21, 2010
Best of U. feature of 2009-10 profiles Binghamton university runner Chris Gaube. Gaube was an integral member of the Bearcats' 2009 America East Cross Country Championship Team, but he has also had a significant influence as a student and in the
community. Gaube will be busy this winter competing with the indoor track & field team, which finished second at last year's conference championship meet. This feature is written by David O'Brian, Assistant Sports Information Director at Binghamton.
Making His Mark
To say that Chris Gaube has made an impact at Binghamton
University and within the community would be an understatement. He is a
co-captain on the current America East champion cross country team and is
widely seen as the runner who brought a winning culture to the program. He
earned his bachelor’s degree in just three years, graduating with a 3.74 GPA,
and is now in his first year as a MBA student at Binghamton. In addition, he
is the cross country team representative to the Student Athlete Advisory Council
(SAAC) and is also involved in the Student-Athlete Leadership Institute (SALI).
Furthermore, he is the founder of the Relentless Run Training Club, which is
geared towards helping younger runners in the Binghamton area.
In every way, Gaube has been a leader. It is a trait that
he attributes to his parents. His father, Jerry, was inducted into the
Binghamton University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 for his accomplishments as
a pitcher on the baseball team. His mother, Bette Anne, is currently an Assistant
Athletic Director, also at Binghamton.
“I have always been a leader on every team I've been on
since I was a child, and that is something I attribute exclusively to my
parents,” Gaube said. “They always challenged me to be not only the best athlete
or student I could be, but the best person I could be.”
Gaube was the class president at nearby Vestal High
School, from where he graduated in 2006. He excelled in track and cross country
and was a member of the National Honors Society. Although Gaube was recruited
by several colleges, he chose Binghamton for the opportunity to grow in many
“I came to Binghamton in hopes of challenging myself to
become a stronger student, athlete and person,” he said. “As far as athletics
go, I was intrigued by the opportunity to help build a program from the ground
up. The most significant reason I chose Binghamton was for its academics.
Binghamton had a strong reputation academically and I knew it would allow me to
challenge myself and help propel me to success in the future.”
While Binghamton’s academic prestige was unquestioned
four years ago, its men’s cross country program was struggling to adjust to
being in the America East Conference. In 2005, the Bearcats placed a
program-worst at the conference championship. Since joining the America East in
2001, Binghamton had never finished higher than sixth as a team. Gaube,
however, relished the challenge of helping to turn the program around.
“When I got here, I saw a program with great potential
but one that needed a slight culture change,” he said. “There really wasn’t a
strong desire to be great. It was a sort of settling for mediocrity type of
thing. I have been in sports my entire life and that was never the way I
approaching things. As a freshman, I was determined to keep the attitude I
Gaube had little trouble making a difference once he
arrived on campus. He was the team MVP in both 2006 and 2008. After finishing
eighth again at the conference meet Gaube’s freshman year, the Bearcats
improved to third by 2008. It was Gaube’s leadership that was a key factor in
the team’s rise in the America East.
“What our team needed before Chris got here was great
leadership,” head cross country coach Annette Acuff said. “Chris has been one
of the best leaders we’ve ever had. He works very hard, gets along well with
everyone and leads by example.”
Without question, however, Gaube’s crowning moment both
as a leader and an athlete came this past October when Binghamton completed its
amazing turnaround by winning its first-ever America East cross country title.
He finished second overall in the men’s race to teammate Erik van Ingen and as
a captain, had the honor of accepting the championship trophy afterwards.
“Winning an America East Championship has been the most
gratifying experience of my life,” he said. “Being a part of it all, and a part
of developing the program, has been something I take great pride in.
Personally, I know where we came from and everything it took, and how many
people were integral in helping us reach the championship level.”
While winning the championship was a team effort, Gaube’s
role in the process was obvious to his teammates and his coaches.
“Chris was both a vocal and physical leader,” freshman
Jeff Martinez said. “He inspired teammates with his work ethic in practices and
inspired us through his words talking about winning championships.”
"Binghamton cross country has gone from being one of
the worst teams in the America East to the best team in three years," head
track coach Mike Thompson said. "The genesis of that transformation can be
traced directly to the day Chris Gaube decided to run for the Bearcats."
In the classroom, Gaube has made just as smooth a
transition at Binghamton. He has been named to the America East Commissioner’s
Honor Roll every semester and was inducted into the National College Athlete
Honors Society in 2008. As Gaube puts it, he has enjoyed the academic
challenges as much as the athletic endeavors.
“I think I have become a much stronger student and have
become much more focused on my academic and career pursuits,” he said.
“Especially over the last year or two, I have tried to really get the best out
of my education and not take anything for granted.
As Gaube has developed as a runner and as a student, he
has also branched out beyond athletics and academics. His involvement with SAAC
and SALI has given him opportunities to make a difference in other ways.
“I like to be an ambassador for our program,” he said.
“Binghamton University has done so much for me and in my career as a
student-athlete there have been so many individuals that I owe a lot to for
helping me reach new heights. Being a part of SAAC and SALI gives me the
opportunity to give back to the university. It has also allowed me to form
friendships with many other athletes.”
In the summer following his freshman year, Gaube found
the Relentless Run Training Club. First, he let the Binghamton Athletic
Department know of his desire to start a running club for local high school
runners. Once the compliance office approved of his intentions, Gaube went
around to local high school meets and contacted coaches he knew to let them
know about his program. Having only started running three years earlier, Gaube
was motivated by the desire to help younger runners learn what he had only
started to know.
“Through the Relentless Run Training Club (RRTC), I try
to have an influence on younger athletes and teach local high school runners
what it takes to run at the highest level possible,” he said. “Binghamton has
taught me so much and I want to pass along that knowledge to younger runners.
Also through RRTC, I try to teach the kids to enjoy the sport and not take it
so serious that they forget to have fun.”
Gaube’s ability to excel in every way has impressed
others around him.
“As a person, he is a renaissance man,” van Ingen said.
“He enjoys doing everything in sports, academics and (other activities). He is
Since Gaube took a medical redshirt during the 2007 cross
country season, he has one more season of eligibility. Next spring, he will
leave Binghamton with both his bachelor’s degree and MBA. The legacy he will
leave promises to be significant in athletics, academics and within the
community. In many ways, it already is.
America East: Developing Champions in Academics, Athletics and Leadership