Associate Head Coach Andy Powell, the architect behind Oregon’s cross country, middle distance and distance success, is in his 11th year at the University. Powell, recognized as one of the nation’s top men’s distance coaches, has worked with some of the most successful runners in recent Oregon history and was named the 2015 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 26 individual national champions and well over 100 All-Americans in his Oregon career. He has guided Oregon to nine top-10 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, including back-to-back titles in 2007-2008 plus 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 nine straight men’s Pac-12 Outdoor Championships during his tenure.
Oregon added a remarkable seven distance national championships to its resume in 2014-15. Edward Cheserek played 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 Duck to win back-to-back cross country titles since the legendary Steve Prefontaine in 1970-71.
The 2013-14 season was a banner year for Duck 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:
Back-to-back NCAA 1,500 Meter Champion and seven time All-American Mac Fleet. 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).
A two-time NCAA and Pac-12 Champion, Lake Oswego’s Elijah 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).
A second-generation University of Oregon Olympian, Matthew 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 two World Championship medals.
One of the most decorated athletes in program history, 11-time All-American Luke Puskedra 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).
The fast-closing 5-time NCAA Champion Andrew Wheating, 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 mile (3:51.74) also ran 3:37.52 (1500m) and 1:45.03 (800m) in college.
One of the greatest distance runners in UO history, Galen 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 school-record 14-time All-American and 2009 Bowerman Award winner holds three school records: 10,000m (27:33.48), 3,000m (7:44.69) and 5,000m indoors (13:18.12).
In total, Oregon distance runners have won 26 NCAA individual titles over the last 11 years under Powell’s guidance, more than any other program in the country. Since 2009 the Ducks have amassed a total of 401 points in the distances at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, more than double their nearest competitor.
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.