Ethan Townsend returned to St. Lawrence University as the head coach for Nordic Skiing in 2003. He received an Economics degree in 1998 from St. Lawrence before earning a Master’s in Education in 2001 while serving as an assistant Nordic coach for the Saints.
After his three-year stint as assistant coach at St. Lawrence, Townsend headed west to coach at Whitman College for two years in the fall of 2001. He was head coach of the Nordic ski team at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and helped that team make the transition from the US Collegiate Ski Association National Champions to NCAA competition in the 2002-03 season.
At St. Lawrence, he coached Kristen Bednar to the 2009 NCAA Championships, and guided the trio of Eric Wolcott, Ben Knowles and Zach Wetherell to a pair of victories at the 2010 EISA Championships and into the field at the NCAA Championships. Most recently, Austin Meng qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2013 and the duo of Leah Hart '12 and Caroline Carpenter '12 added their names to the list of student-athletes that have qualified for the NCAA Championships, earning spots in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
In 2017, first year Lucy Hochschartner earned a career-best result, finishing the sprint course with a time of three minutes, 48.43 seconds to score 41 points for the Saints. Her performance ranked among some of St. Lawrence's best; the fourth-place result is the top result for the Saints' women's Nordic team since Leah Hart placed fourth in the 10K freestyle in 2011. In addition five members of the team were honored by the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association (USCSCA) and earned National Collegiate All-Academic Ski Team honors.
In 2015, The Saints and Coach Townsend hosted the NCAA Championships at Lake Placid.
The Level 200 USSA certified coach was named the EISA Coach of the Year at St. Lawrence in 2007 and again in 2010. He has served on the NCAA Executive Committee since 2013 and was named as Committee Chair in 2015. He is also a member of the Executive Committee for the EISA.
Originally from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Coach Townsend began competing in cross country skiing at age six and led his high school team to a state championship in his senior season prior to joining the St. Lawrence team in 1994.
Ethan currently resides in Canton with his wife Jennifer and their children Calvin and Maya.