Associate head coach Andy Powell, regarded as one of the nation’s top men’s distance coaches, has spent the last 12 seasons at the University of Oregon and works directly with the Ducks’ men’s cross country, middle distance and distance runners. He was promoted to associate head coach for both the men’s and the women’s track and cross country teams in September 2012.
Since arriving at Oregon, Powell has been the architect behind Oregon’s cross country and distance success and has worked with some of the most successful runners in Oregon history. In 2015, he was named the USTFCCCA Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Powell, instrumental in the resurgence of the Ducks' distance heritage, has coached 34 individual national champions, 23 individual conference champions and well over 100 All-Americans in his Oregon career.
He has guided the Men of Oregon to six top-5 finishes and nine top-10 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, including back-to-back titles in 2007-2008 and the runner-up trophy in 2009. He also assisted the Ducks to their first-ever NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship in 2009 and their historic sweep of the Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championship titles in both 2014 and 2015. Oregon has also captured 11 straight men’s Pac-12 Outdoor Championships during his tenure.
Powell has also been instrumental in the women’s team’s success since being promoted to associate head coach for both programs. He helped the Women of Oregon to national cross country titles in both 2012 and 2016, four NCAA Indoor titles and two NCAA Outdoor championships. In 2017, he helped guide the Women of Oregon to the first Triple Crown by a women’s Division I team in NCAA history.
The 2014-15 season was perhaps the best for Powell and his runners since he arrived at UO. Oregon added a remarkable seven distance national championships to its resume that year, with Edward Cheserek playing a role in five of those titles by winning the individual cross country title in the fall, and then adding outdoor victories at 5,000 and 10,000 meters, plus the mile and the distance medley relay indoors. Eric Jenkins was also a multiple winner indoors, taking the 3,000 and 5,000 meter crowns. Cheserek, who only lost one race in the fall of 2014, was named the USTFCCCA Cross Country Athlete of the Year, while Jenkins captured Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year Honors. Cheserek also became the first person to win three consecutive NCAA Cross Country Championships. The men’s distance crew would go on to lead the Men of Oregon to their second NCAA Outdoor title in as many years.
The 2013-14 season was also banner year for the Ducks’ distance runners, with Bowerman Finalist Cheserek capturing three individual NCAA titles on the track. The 2013 NCAA Cross Country Champion, and USTFCCCA Cross Country and Indoor Athlete of the Year, became the first Duck to win the cross country individual title as a freshman. Cheserek and teammates Parker Stinson, Eric Jenkins and Trevor Dunbar combined to record the Ducks' best-ever finishes at the long distances while Mac Fleet became Oregon’s fourth NCAA 1,500 meter champion in five years.
Powell was named the USTFCCCA Assistant Coach of the Year after the 2014 outdoor track and field season thanks to a dominant performance at the NCAA Championships where the Ducks scored 43 points in the men’s distance events in leading the team to their first outdoor team title since 1984.
Powell’s career at Oregon has been made up of countless remarkable moments and a notable string of distance stars that now dominate the Oregon and United States’ record books. They include:
Edward Cheserek: In his four years at Oregon, Cheserek established himself as one of the greatest collegiate athletes in the history of the NCAA. Under Powell’s guidance, Cheserek won an unprecedented 17 NCAA titles, the most by any track and field or cross country athlete in NCAA history and the most by any male athlete in the history of NCAA Division I athletics. Cheserek finished just two championships short of tying the all-time NCAA record for the most national titles won by a Division I athlete. Cheserek also won an astounding four straight Pac-12 cross country championships, the first man in league history to accomplish that feat, and in 2017 broke the indoor collegiate record in the mile in a blazing . ‘The King’ closed his Oregon career as a 21-time all-American, a five-time USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Year and a three-time Bowerman Finalist.
Galen Rupp: One of the greatest distance runners in UO history, Rupp was the first person ever to win six NCAA distance races in the same calendar year. In 2008, after qualifying for the Beijing Olympics, he became the third Duck to win the NCAA Cross Country Championship. The 14-time All-American and 2009 Bowerman Award winner now holds two school records, the outdoor 10,000 meters (27:33.48) and indoor 5,000 meters(13:18.12), and he is No. 2 all-time behind Cheserek in the outdoor 3,000 meters (7:44.69).
Matthew Centrowitz: A second-generation University of Oregon Olympian, Centrowitz was the top American 1,500-meter runner in 2011 after winning NCAA and U.S. titles. The school-record holder in the 1,500 meters (3:34.46) and 7-time All-American won three Pac-10 titles before pursuing a professional career that has included mutliple World Championship medals and a 2016 Olympic gold medal in the 1,500.
Mac Fleet: A back-to-back NCAA 1,500-meter champion and seven-time all-American. The 2014 Oregon graduate was the school record holder in the indoor mile (3:57.70) and boasts collegiate bests of 1:46.32 (800m) and 3:38.35 (1500m).
Elijah Greer: A two-time NCAA and Pac-12 Champion, Greer swept the 2013 indoor and outdoor 800-meter crowns. He placed in the top three in the 800 three times during his career and held a collegiate best of 1:45.06 (800m).
Luke Puskedra: One of the most decorated athletes in program history, Puskedra, an 11-time all-American, placed in the top ten at the NCAA Cross Country Championships three times. The 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier held collegiate personal bests of 13:46.52 (5,000m) and 27:56.62 (10,000m).
Andrew Wheating: Wheating, the fast-closing 5-time NCAA Champion, qualified for the Beijing Olympics as a sophomore in 2008. As a senior, he won both the 800 meter and 1500 meter NCAA titles in the first sweep of the events in 26 years. The school-record holder in the outdoor mile (3:51.74) also ran 3:37.52 (1500m) and 1:45.03 (800m) in college.
A graduate of Stanford University, Powell stood out as one of the nation’s top collegiate middle distance runners. He still ranks among the school’s all-time best in the 1,500 meters (3:40.65) and just missed an Olympic Trials bid with the nation’s top freshman mark during the 2000 season. That same campaign, he competed on the Cardinal’s NCAA champion track and field squad and placed eighth in the Pac-10 Championships 5,000 meters (14:18.75) as Stanford took second as a team. In cross country, he ran on the Cardinal team that finished fourth in the NCAA Championships in 2000 and won the Pac-10 title.
As a prep at Oliver Ames High School in North Easton, Mass., near Boston, he won U.S. junior titles as a senior in the 1,500 meters (3:49.81) and 5,000 meters (14:51.81) after he ran a state mile record of 4:02.7. The Foot Locker Cross Country qualifier also won titles as a high school athlete in the Pan American Junior Championships, Golden West Invitational, and Millrose Games.
His wife Maurica Powell is an assistant coach for the Ducks and was a decorated Stanford middle distance runner and all-American. The couple have two sons.