Cross Country Coaches

Matt McGuirk

Matt McGuirk
  • Head Coach
  • (11th year, 16th year on WU staff)
  • BA, University of Oregon  '88
  • Sparks 221
  • (503) 370-6898 voice

Matt McGuirk is in his 11th year as the head coach of cross country at Willamette University in 2014-15. He is in his 12th year as head coach of track and field and is in his 16th year on the Willamette coaching staff.

In 2013, McGuirk led the Willamette men's and women's teams to Northwest Conference titles as well as individual championships for Parker Bennett and Michaela Freeby. The Bearcat women's team took 12th place at the NCAA Championships. Freeby, who placed eighth in the nation in the women's race, and Bennett, who took 32nd in the men's race, each earned All-America honors.

Prior to becoming head coach in 2004, McGuirk led the men’s cross country team for five seasons. He also was the team’s top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 1999-03. His ability to recruit student-athletes who succeed both in the classroom and in competition has led to the most successful teams in school history.

In 2002 and 2004, the WU men’s team earned fifth place finishes at the NCAA Championships. Sarah Zerzan of WU won back-to-back individual national titles at the NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007. The WU women’s team placed ninth in the NCAA during the 2004 and 2007 seasons.

McGuirk was named NWC Coach of the Year in men’s cross country in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013. He was NWC women’s coach of the year in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2013.

He has led the men’s team to eight NWC titles since 2001 and has guided the women's team to five NWC titles since 2004. He also had coached Willamette to the NCAA West Regional men’s title in seven of the past 10 seasons and to the women’s West Regional title in four of the past eight years.

McGuirk has guided the men’s team to the NCAA Championships 10 times, with the women qualifying six times. He was an assistant coach when the women earned NWC and West Regional titles while qualifying for the NCAA Championships in 2003.

Since he has been at WU, both teams have earned All-Academic status every year. The award requires at least a 3.1 team GPA.

As Willamette’s track and field coach, McGuirk led the men’s team to a tie for third place at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in 2004, giving Willamette its first NCAA trophy in school history. The WU men’s team took fourth place at the NCAA Championships in 2005.

Coaching Quick Facts

Full Name:  Matthew McGuirk
Hometown:  Eugene, Oregon
High School:  South Eugene
Alma Mater:  University of Oregon, ‘88 (B.A. in Finance/Marketing)
Running Career:  1983 U.S. Junior Steeplechase Champion; Ranked Top 40 in the world in steeplechase (1992 & 1993) Placed seventh in the steeplechase in the 1992 Olympic Trials, setting a personal record of 8:26.10; 1993 Olympic Festival steeplechase champion
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