Longtime Cross Country And Track & Field Coach Mike Woods To Retire

posted: August 19, 2014     SUNY Geneseo

 

GENESEO, N.Y. – SUNY Geneseo head cross country coach Mike Woods has announced that he will retire following the 2014-15 season. One of the most decorated distance coaches in the nation, his 23rd campaign will punctuate a career that included numerous national champions and All-Americans during his tenure with the cross country and track & field programs.

Woods has been a part of 48 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championships, while garnering a total of 26 SUNYAC Coach of the Year honors. He led the 2005 women’s cross country team to the first team national championship in institution history, and was named the NCAA Division III Women’s Coach of the Year for his efforts.

“I’ve enjoyed every second of being the head coach at Geneseo. It has been very fulfilling and I have loved working with all the student-athletes,” said Woods. “I might be stepping down, but I’m not stepping out. I plan to be at every meet I can and hold a stopwatch whenever needed. However, I am also looking forward to becoming a full-time grandfather.”

Since taking over the cross country program in 1992, he has guided 20 runners (12 women, 8 men) to 28 All-America citations, including three-time All-American Liz Montgomery-Chichester ’08, who finished second in 2007 and third in 2005 at the NCAA Championships. Woods also mentored Lee Berube ’12 to a runner-up finish in 2011 following an eighth-place effort the season before, while Ted Turner ‘05 notched fourth- and fifth-place efforts, respectively, in 2003 and 2004 and Melissa White ’03 crossed the finish line third in 2002 and fourth in 2001.

"Coach Woods saw beyond an average high school runner and developed talents that led me to become a top competitor on the national stage, but just as important was the close bond created off the track,” said Turner. “He has always supported me in my endeavors with sage advice, wit and wisdom.  It was his leadership, dedication and knowledge of the sport that led us to achieve greatness. I cherish the experience and success that I attained at Geneseo and it would have not been possible without Woodsie."

Woods and his Knights currently hold the nation's longest streak for qualifying both the men's and women's teams for the NCAA National Championships. Heading into the 2014 season, the women will be in the running for their 16th-consecutive and 21st overall appearance, while the men look to make their 11th-straight (12th overall) showing. In addition to their national championship, the women also notched a fifth-place effort in 2007, while the men have run to top-10 finishes in four of the last six seasons, including a fourth-place showing in 2011. Responsible for coaching Geneseo to all but two of its NCAA appearances all-time in program history, Woods has also been voted the Atlantic Region Coach of the Year five times (three women, two men) during his tenure.

A 20-time SUNYAC Cross Country Coach of the Year (11 women, 9 men), he has guided 23 SUNYAC Championship teams (13 women, 11 men), while 14 of his Knights (nine women, five men) have run to 19 SUNYAC individual Championships and 63 of his runners (33 women, 30 men) have been inducted into the SUNYAC Cross Country Hall of Fame. Under his tutelage, the women won an unprecedented 10-straight SUNYAC titles from 2000-09, and will be in the hunt for their fourth-straight championship in 2014. The men, who won a string of six titles from 2000-06, will be running for their fifth title in the last six years this November.

Said Montgomery-Chichester “I'm so thankful for Coach Woods and everything he gave us. He wanted cross country to be fun and Geneseo to be the best team we could be. He got us believing in our team and believing in ourselves. The biggest thing Woodsie did for me was caring about me as a person above everything else.”

Woods also served as the head coach for the Geneseo track & field programs for 12 years until 2004, when he started focusing solely on the distance runners as assistant coach. As head coach, he the led the Knights to seven indoor titles (three men, four women), along with four outdoor championships (three women, one men).

Five Knights have been crowned individual national champions in track & field under Woods’ watch, most recently Alyssa Smith who won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2013. Seven-time All-American Beth Shope ’99 won the institution’s first ever national championship, bringing home the hammer throw title in 1999, before Kim DePrez ’03 swept the indoor and outdoor high jump titles and Melissa White ’03 took top-honors in the indoor 5,000-meter run during the 2002-03 campaign.

All told, a total of 51 track & field/cross country competitors (31 women, 20 men) have combined for 124 All-America certificates (82 women, 42 men), while teams have won 26 women’s and 22 men’s SUNYAC Championships since Woods has been associated with the program. During the 2002-03 academic year, Woods led Geneseo to an unprecedented sweep of all six SUNYAC titles in men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor track & field and men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, before also helping the Knights repeat the feat three years later in 2005-06.

Prior to coming aboard at Geneseo, Woods taught English at nearby York Central High School. He also coached the boys and girls cross country teams for 21 years, compiling a dual meet record of 219-24, as well as the track and field teams for 20 years, running up a dual-meet mark of 208-36.

A native of Oneonta, N.Y., Woods earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary English from Geneseo in 1969, as well as a master’s degree in English in 1978.

Woods will be recognized during a special ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 4 in conjunction with the 34th-Annual Geneseo Cross Country Invitational at Letchworth State Park. For more information, contact the Geneseo Track & Field office at (585) 245-5470. More information will also be available in the coming weeks on GeneseoKnights.com and facebook.com/supporters4GXCTF.

The Mike Woods File

 

SUNYAC

NCAA

SUNYAC

SUNYAC

Season

Cross Country

Cross Country

Indoor T&F

Outdoor T&F

1992-93

2nd/4th

-/-

2nd/4th

3rd/4th

1993-94

2nd/1st

7th/-

1st/2nd

2nd/5th

1994-95

2nd/2nd

9th/-

2nd/3rd

2nd/7th

1995-96

2nd/2nd

15th/-

1st/4th

1st/6th

1996-97

2nd/4th

21st/-

5th/5th

5th/7th

1997-98

3rd/5th

-/-

2nd/5th

2nd/6th

1998-99

3rd/4th

-/-

3rd/5th

4th/6th

1999-00

T2nd/3rd

16th/-

2nd/3rd

3rd/4th

2000-01

1st/1st

8th/-

2nd/1st

2nd/2nd

2001-02

1st/1st

18th/-

2nd/1st

2nd/2nd

2002-03

1st/1st

15th/-

1st/1st

1st/1st

2003-04

1st/1st

22nd/7th

1st/2nd

1st/2nd

2004-05 

1st/1st

13th/10th

1st/1st

1st/2nd

2005-06

1st/1st

1st/20th

1st/1st

1st/1st

2006-07

1st/2nd

9th/14th

2nd/2nd

2nd/2nd

2007-08

1st/2nd

5th/22nd

2nd/3rd

1st/4th

2008-09

1st/2nd

11th/8th

3rd/2nd

3rd/1st

2009-10

1st/1st

9th/6th

2nd/1st

1st/1st

2010-11

2nd/1st

12th/7th

2nd/2nd

3rd/1st

2011-12

1st/1st

12th/4th

3rd/1st

2nd/2nd

2012-13

1st/1st

26th/18th

2nd/5th

4th/5th

2013-14

1st/2nd

16th/15th

3rd/4th

5th/5th

 

Note: Above records listed women's/men's

Bold - SUNYAC Coach Of