PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Lake Erie announced on Tuesday (Feb. 11) that Matt Reneker has been hired as the head coach of the Storm's cross country program. Reneker comes to LEC from Malone University, where he has been an assistant coach in MU's cross country and track & field programs since 2011.
Reneker has been a key developer of talent in a collegiate program that has developed five all-Americans and 27 all-conference standouts over the last three years. The 2013 Malone Cross Country team produced one NCAA-II All-American (Tina Oprean) and three All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference performers. Reneker coordinated training regimens, recruiting plans and raised funds for a Pioneer cross country program that saw its men and women's squads both ranked as national top-15s (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Poll) in 2013. The MU men placed second in last season's GLIAC Championship; the Pioneer women placed third.
"We are very excited to bring Matt Reneker on as the department's first sport-specific head coach for Cross Country," said Director of Athletics Reid Guarnieri. "Lake Erie Track & Field has enjoyed many recent successes at the national stage, and we believe Matt will help parlay that into similar results with our distance program. He has a ton of energy and is highly intelligent; both will be great assets as we continue to grow our Track and Cross Country programs at LEC."
Reneker himself is a former top-flight runner in the college ranks. The former St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Louisville, Ohio) assistant track coach (2005-10) was a Track & Field MVP for the Walsh Cavaliers in 1999. He was a two-time NAIA All-American at Walsh, from which he graduated in 1999.
The Storm's new head coach went on to earn a Master of Arts in Exercise Physiology degree at Kent State University in 2004. His coaching experience also includes the post-collegiate distance training for a group of 10 men, two of whom have qualified in Olympic marathon trials.
"I see Matt as being extremely relatable to our student-athletes," said Guarnieri. "He has been through that grind that they all experience."