|Club Team:||Cal State - Long Beach|
In the summer of 2007, Matt Roe was hired to direct
Butler’s Track and Field/Cross Country programs. Roe, who had
built his coaching resume on quickly developing strong distance
programs at Long Beach State (2004-2007) and Western Illinois
(2001-2004), has continued his successful run at Butler, leading
the Bulldogs to three cross country championships in two seasons.
He is currently in his fourth season leading the Bulldogs.
The 2008-2009 year saw the Bulldogs several highlights on and off the track and trail. In the classroom Butler edged Yale as the top combined program in the nation in academics track and field. The women ranked second in the nation in team GPA 3.547 while the men ranked 4th in the nation with a 3.347 GPA. Senior Kent Wories earned Academic All-American honors for the second year in a row, while Andy Baker earned his first Academic All American certificate. Butler’s five track and field Academic All Americans in 2008 and 2009 ranks Butler 4th nationally among all Division I schools over that time span.
On the track, dramatic improvements were seen from top to bottom across the program. Notable achievements came from newcomers Stephen Lisgo, Kris Gauson, and Joe Macdonald. The Bulldog trio helped Butler join Stanford and Oregon as the only programs in the country to have a male NCAA qualifier in the Steeplechase, 1500 meters, and 5000 meters.
Lisgo, who broke the Horizon League meet record a month earlier, finished 3rd at the NCAA Championships in a school and personal record time of 8:35.49. His finish was the best male performance in Butler’s Division I history at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, guiding Butler to its best finish (40th) at the NCAA Division I Championships. Lisgo, ranked #1 in Great Britain in the Steeplechase, would go on to represent Great Britain in the European U23 Championships, finishing 5th in the final. Gauson, previously injured for over two years prior to his enrollment at Butler, set personal and school records at 800 meters (1:48.66) and 1500 meters (3:42.13). Macdonald joined Gauson under the old 1500 meter school record, winning the Georgia Tech Invitational in personal best 3:42.63. Enroute to his NCAA 5000 meter appearance, Macdonald also won the college/open section at the prestigious Mt. Sac Relays in April slashing over 36 seconds off his personal best to run 13:54.73.
The indoor year produced several outstanding performances. Ranked among these marks were three school and two conference records. Andy Baker ran an indoor personal best 14:00.51 to claim the Butler 5000 meter record. Kris Gauson’s 1:51.08 800 meter win at the Horizon League Championships broke the school record and converted to a 1:50.61 NCAA qualifying mark (unbanked 200 meter track). Joe Macdonald broke the conference championship mark at 3000 meters running 8:17.62. The Butler men also broke the school and conference record in the Distance Medley Relay clocking a solo 9:53.82.
During the 2008 Cross Country campaign the men finished 29th at NCAA Cross Country Championships with Andy Baker earning All American honors for the second year in a row. Baker took the individual win for the second straight year at the Horizon League Champions leading the Butler men to a perfect score win, and was the runner-up place showing at the Great Lakes Regional meet leading the Bulldogs to a 3rd place team finish.
Roe’s initial campaign at Butler in 2007-2008 was a success on the track and trail. On the track Roe’s athletes captured 11 conference titles during the indoor and outdoor campaigns. Along the way, Genni Gardner snapped two Horizon League conference records 5000 meters (outdoor) and indoor mile. In the post season on the women’s side Butler was one of only seven schools nationally to have three women in a Regional final at 5000 meters. For the men, newcomer Andy Baker lowered his 500 meter personal best from 2007 by nearly 40 seconds on the way to his first NCAA Outdoor appearance. Baker’s 13:49.87 clocking at the Oregon Relays placed him 3rd overall, and tops among all collegians.
Led by Andy Baker and Genni Gardner the men and women swept the Horizon League Championships cross country championships in 2007. On the heels of his first individual conference title, Baker used his momentum to place 3rd at the Great Lakes Regional Championships, earning an individual berth to the NCAA Championships. Baker capped his stellar season by earning All-American honors at NCAA’s, placing 28th overall. Two weeks after his NCAA success, Baker helped Great Britain win the European U23 Cross Country title, placing 12th overall. Gardner enjoyed the best cross country season of her career. On the way to her first ever individual NCAA Cross Country Championships appearance, Gardner charted career best finishes at the Great Lakes Regional (9th) and Horizon League Championships (2nd). Gardner’s improved regional performance (26th in 2006) lead the women to a 5th place finish, tops among all Indiana schools.
In just two years Roe, a two time Horizon League Coach of the year, has produced 63 All-Horizon League performers, 21 Horizon League individual and relay titles, 11 MidEast Regional Track qualifiers, seven school records on the track, six NCAA individual qualifiers, six All Great Lakes Region cross country runners, six Horizon League meet records, five Academic All-Americans, five Horizon League Athletes of the Year, three All-Americans, three Horizon League team titles, two international team selections, one NCAA team appearance, and one Horizon League Newcomer of the year award.
Prior to taking the reigns at Butler Roe engineered one of the most dramatic recent turnarounds in Division I distance running at Long Beach State from 2004-2007. Roe’s accomplishments were acknowledged by his peers as they voted him to be the Men’s West Regional Cross Country Representative for the U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for 2007-2009.
With their finishes at the Big West Conference meet and the NCAA West Regional meet, the 2006 cross country squads completed the best two-year post-season run in school history. The women’s team jumped to second at the Big West Conference meet, tying the 1989 squad for the best women’s finish in school history. The men, who were picked to finish fifth after losing their top two runners to graduation, placed fourth. At the 2006 West Regional meet, both squads finished 12th overall.
In 2005 both cross country teams leapt from 6th to 3rd at the Big West Conference meet, marking the best 49er performance in 17 years. At the West Regional meet the women vaulted from 20th in 2004 to 10th in 2005, just 21 points shy of a 7th place finish. The men climbed from 15th to 10th place in 2005 matching the women’s team finish. Aside from re-writing their own record books, Roe’s squads combined conference and regional team improvements were unmatched by any competitive Division I school in the country from 2004-2005.
On the track the 49’ers were equally successful. In 2007 Roe’s runners continued to reach new heights, snapping five school records while further dominating the school’s all-time lists. Senior Jim Grabow completed his storied career becoming the first Long Beach State athlete to earn All-American honors in a running event at the NCAA Indoor National Championships, finishing 11th in the 5000 meters. Grabow, a 14:50 5000 meter junior college transfer in 2004, clocked personal bests of 13:44.04 in the 5000 meters and 7:59.40 at 3000 meters in his final season under Roe’s guidance. Grabow finished 2007 as the 6th fastest American indoors over 5000 meters. Other top marks included Alex Freitas freshman school record at 800 meters. Freitas’s 1:50.05 clocking was fourth fastest among all Division I freshman in 2007.
After re-writing the Long Beach’s indoor school record list in the winter, Roe’s runners had a historic outdoor year in 2006. Roe’s men played a vital role in the first 49er men’s conference title in 30 years. The men tallied 34 points at the conference meet, the most ever by a 49er distance squad at the Big West meet. Mario Cobian became the first 49er distance runner in six years to win a conference title. Not to be outdone, the women recorded 33 points at the Big West meet, also an all-time 49er distance best. The women’s distance contribution helped guide the team to a 3rd place finish and the best two-year conference run in school history.
At LBSU Roe’s athletes did more than just improve they did so at impressive rates. In less than three years Roe’s runners recorded 51 all-time top 10 marks, 14 All Big-West selections, 12 school records, four NCAA National Qualifying marks, a Big West Conference Champion, one All-American and one Academic All-American selection.
Prior to his appointment at The Beach, Roe made Western Illinois one of the most improved Division I programs in the nation from 2001-2004. In three years at the helm of the Western distance program, Roe produced 24 All-Mid Continent athletes, nine runner-up conference finishers, three conference champions, two school records, and two All-American with Distinction Academic Teams.
As the Head Cross Country Coach at Western, Roe led both the men’s and women’ program from the bottom to near the top of the Mid-Continent Conference. In only his second season, Roe’s women went from sixth to second in the Mid-Continent Conference Cross Country Championships, establishing one of the top one-year turnarounds in Division I from 2001-2002. The women’s finish was best in school history. Roe’s men also improved dramatically at the conference meet jumping from seventh in 2001 to fourth in 2002 to 3rd in 2003.
As assistant track coach at Western, in his first year (2002) Roe helped lead the Leathernecks to the Mid-Continent Outdoor Track title, coaching Zach Somers to Western’s first individual distance title in a decade. Somers became the first freshman in school history to win a conference distance crown. At the 2003 Mid-Con Championships, Roe’s athletes exploded for a school record 98 points, tallying 13 career bests, nine all-conference honors, five runner-up finishes, two conference titles and two Mid-East Regional berths. The combined effort stood in stark contrast to the 27 total points produced in the year prior to Roe’s arrival.
Prior to coaching at Western Illinois, Roe served as an assistant track and cross country coach at the University of Montana from 1999-2001. At Montana, Roe helped guide the Grizzlies to 11 individual Big Sky titles, eight NCAA appearances, and two All-American honors. Roe assisted the 2000 Lady Grizzlies to their best all-time Big Sky (second) and Mountain Regional (fifth) cross country finishes. The 2000 season was capped off by Sabrina Monro’s runner-up finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
A standout on the track and trail for Division I national distance power University of Portland, Roe was a three-time All-West Coast Conference harrier. A three-time WCC scholar-athlete, Roe earned degrees in English (1997) and History (1998) from Portland. A USATF Level II certified coach, Roe earned his M.S. in Physical Education (Sport Psychology) from Western Illinois in 2003.