Mark Guthrie has been named Central Michigan University’s director of track and field and cross country.
Guthrie, who signed a contract that pays him $85,000 a year for five years, won 22 NCAA Division III titles at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008.
He has also coached 46 NCAA individual champions who won 66 titles during his time at La Crosse. Guthrie also coached Olympic gold medalist Andrew Rock during his time at La Crosse.
“I always wanted to be a coach at the Division I level,” he said. “Even though we had success at UW-La Crosse in Division III, there is a difference between Division I.”
Guthrie left UW-La Crosse after 19 seasons for Wisconsin, where he served under legendary head coach Ed Nuttycombe for last six seasons.
“I knew I had to spend some time with a good mentor,” he said.
CMU Athletic Director Dave Heeke cited Guthrie’s coaching history as a reason for getting the job.
“We are really pleased to have landed Mark. He has tremendous experience and background which quickly vaulted him to the top of the list,” he said. “He understands he can come here and be successful. He wants to win and we think we can do that here. He thought there was the right connection here at CMU and that he can build something very special here.”
Guthrie said he hopes to make CMU proud to have a track and field program.
“We need to reestablish a great foundation, and that starts with coaching staff which will meet later this week,” he said. “Then, we need to get on the road and start recruiting hard from the coaching aspect. As for the student athletes, we need to get them in and talk to them about what the expectations and goals are. Central Michigan has been good in track. We just need to reignite that fire and get back to where (CMU) is proud to have their track program.”
After five track and field athletes had a fallout with ex-director Willie Randolph last season, Guthrie said all the athletes are welcomed back.
“I can’t comment on what happened before, but I have an open door policy,” he said. “I want to talk to the kids one-on-one and find out what they are all about. Track’s one thing, but life is something different. We need to figure out what makes them tick and why they are happy, why they are here and what their goals are.”