May 19, 2017
WASHINGTON – Matt Centrowitz has decided to step down from his post as head coach for cross country and track at American University, effective Sept. 1.
Centrowitz, a two-time Olympian and former American record-holder who served as the Eagles head coach for 18 seasons, is leaving to pursue other opportunities, including an increased coaching presence with his son, Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz, and to promote his book.
"I can't thank the AU community enough for all they have done for me and my family," said Centrowitz. "I've learned a lot from my student-athletes over the years and I will always cherish my days at American. I'm looking forward to becoming more involved with my son's athletic career, and I'm excited to continue telling our family's story through the book."
During his time at American, Centrowitz coached Eagle student-athletes to 11 NCAA All-America finishes in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. Three of those All-Americans, Keira Carlstrom D'Amato, Samia Akbar and Sean O'Brien are in the AU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Centrowitz won nine Patriot League Coach of the Year honors and his student-athletes earned PL Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors 18 times, and one Academic All-America honor with D'Amato.
Under his guidance, American dominated the Patriot League in cross country in the early 2000s. The AU men won six straight team championships and had nine individual champions for both the men and women. In both cross country and track, his student-athletes have won 89 individual or relay championships in Patriot League competitions.
When the Patriot League selected its 25-Year Anniversary Teams in 2015, AU cross country and track student-athletes earned 12 spots.
"We thank Matt for his efforts to build the AU cross country and track program into the success it is today," said Dr. Billy Walker, the director of athletics and recreation. "He's dedicated 18 years to American University, and we wish him nothing but the best in his new endeavors."
His son, Matthew Centrowitz, won the gold medal in the men's 1,500-meter run at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Centrowitz and his father received international acclaim for their close relationship, a story told numerous times during NBC's television coverage of the Games.
The story is told in greater detail in the new book, "Like Father, Like Son: My Story on Running, Coaching and Parenting."
Centrowitz will also continue his role as director of the District Track Club, working with post-collegiate runners in the Washington, D.C., area. Joining with Tom Brumlik, the general manager of the club, they will continue to develop elite runners to compete at the national and international level.
Originally from the Bronx, N.Y., Centrowitz attended Power Memorial High School, where he set the still-standing New York state record in the mile (4:02.7). He went on to attend the University of Oregon, where he made his first U.S. Olympic Team in the 1,500 in 1976.
Centrowitz made a second U.S. Olympic Team in 1980 and later set the American record at 5,000 meters (13:12) in 1982. He is a four-time national champion at 5,000 meters.