Responsible for Oregon’s cross country, middle distance and distance runners, associate head coach for track and field and cross country Andy Powell is in his ninth year with the University.
Powell, working in conjunction with the staff in the training of the men’s and women’s distance runners, ensures that all student-athletes receive extensive individual attention, assists in recruiting all middle distance/distance runners, and oversees administrative functions related to the conduct of a successful cross country program — including team travel, equipment and assisting with the Bill Dellinger Invitational.
He has coached some of the most successful runners in recent Oregon history, like Elijah Greer, Matthew Centrowitz, Galen Rupp and Andrew Wheating. Centrowitz ran to a third-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the 2011 IAAF World Championships, and a year later, placed fourth in a thrilling London Olympics 1,500 meter final. Rupp was the 2012 Olympic silver medalist at 10,000 meters.
Powell helped Oregon capture back-to-back NCAA Men’s Cross Country championships in 2007-08 plus the runner-up trophy in 2009. He also assisted to the Ducks to their first-ever NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship in 2009 followed by a second-place trophy at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 2010, the men were second indoors and third outdoors. The Ducks returned to the podium with a fourth place outdoor finish in 2013. Oregon has also captured seven straight men’s Pac-12 titles.
Oregon had one of its strongest middle distance seasons on record in 2013, with Elijah Greer sweeping both the NCAA indoor and outdoor 800 meter national titles, a first in UO history. Additionally, Greer won his second straight Pac-12 800 meter title as he capped a remarkable senior season. Mac Fleet was also a national champion in the 1,500 meters, while the Ducks garnered 10 distance and middle distance All-America awards in 2013.
The 2011-12 seasons saw Centrowitz win both the NCAA Outdoor and USA Championships title at 1,500 meters and also saw All-American performances from Greer (800 meters), Luke Puskedra (10,000 meters), Steve Finley (3,000 meter steeplechase), A.J. Acosta (1,500 meters), Trevor Dunbar (5,000 meters) and Parker Stinson (10,000 meters). Centrowitz also captured his third straight Pac-10 title at 1,500 meters, while Finley took the steeplechase crown. In the fall of 2011, Puskedra was the third place finisher at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
In 2010, Powell helped guide Wheating’s remarkable double at the NCAA Championships, where the 2008 Olympian became the first man in 25 years to win both the 800 and 1,500 meters. Wheating also anchored the Ducks’ indoor distance medley relay national title, and was also part of Oregon’s dramatic 1-2-3 sweep in the NCAA Outdoor 1,500 meters.
A year earlier, Powell played an important role in mentoring perhaps the best individual season in the history of men’s collegiate distance running. Rupp became the first person ever to win six distance races during the same academic year. Rupp was the 2008 NCAA individual cross country champion, the 2009 NCAA Indoor 3,000 and 5,000 meter champion, the 2009 NCAA Outdoor 5,000 and 10,000 meter champion, and anchored Oregon’s winning Indoor distance medley relay team. He was also the Pac-10 cross country medalist and won the league’s 10,000 meter title and capped his collegiate career by winning the title at the USA Track and Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field. He was named the USTFCCCA and Pac-10 Division I men’s track athlete of the year and was also honored as the NCAA Division I Academic All-American of the Year for all sports.
On the track, the Oregon men continued to amass honors on the individual and team fronts. Wheating won his NCAA first title at 800 meters in 2009 to go along with Rupp’s six distance wins, while the distance crew counted Pac-10 wins from Wheating (800), Rupp (10,000), Chris Winter (Steeplechase) and a 1-2-3 sweep in the 1,500 meters led by Centrowitz, Rupp and Wheating. In all the distance runners tallied 79 points towards Oregon’s school-record 158 point total and third straight Pac-10 crown.
The 2009 season also saw Rupp set the American indoor record at 5,000 meters (13:18.12) and the American indoor collegiate record at 3,000 meters (7:44.69) as the team men broke every school indoor mark between 800 and 5,000 meters, plus the distance medley record. Not surprisingly, Oregon was named the USTFCCCA’s Division I program of the year for 2009.
The year before served as a precursor to the remarkable 2008-09 season. Wheating won 11 consecutive races before finishing second by .01 in the men’s 800 meters final of the most exciting race of the entire 2008 NCAA Track and Field Championships. Rupp meanwhile finished second in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify for his first Olympic Games. In 2007, Rupp earned a World Championships 10,000 meters invitation after he placed second in the USA and NCAA Championships — an event he raced to an American collegiate record during the season (27:33.48).
Postseason success is nothing new to Powell who served as a volunteer coach at Columbia University during the 2004-05 season and worked with distance coach and director of track and field Willie Wood.
As a Stanford athlete, Powell stood out as one of the nation’s top 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 that 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.
Andy Powell Has Guided UO Athletes to:
14 NCAA Titles
16 Pac-10 Titles
81 All-America Awards