Matt Centrowitz

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For his son who currently runs professionally for the The Oregon Project, see Matthew Centrowitz, Jr..
Matt Centrowitz
Personal information
Born (1955-01-28) January 28, 1955 (age 61)

Matthew Centrowitz (born January 28, 1955[1]) is a two-time Olympic distance runner, a four-time United States champion, a collegiate All-American, a nationally renowned high school athlete, and a collegiate cross country and track coach.[2]

He is 6 feet 1 inch (186 cm) tall and weighs 170 pounds (77 kg).


Matt Centrowitz was born in New York, New York USA.[1] He attended Power Memorial Academy, where he won state championships in the 800 m, one mile and two mile events and became the first New Yorker to break nine minutes in the two mile run (8:56.00).[2] In 1973 (his senior year), he was ranked as the country's number one high school mile runner.[2] He has the fourth best all-time 1500 m time of 3:43.4 and still holds the state record in the 1500 m and mile events.[2]

He attended the University of Oregon. In 1976, he broke Steve Prefontaine's 1500 m school record, running 3:36.7. He was on the Ducks' 1977 NCAA Cross Country Championship team and graduated from Oregon in 1978.[2]

Centrowitz was a member of the US Olympic Team in 1976, competing in the 1500 m.[2] He won a gold medal in the 5000 m run at the 1979 Pan-American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico,[2] and followed that with four United States national championships in the 5000 m run from 1979–82.[3] In 1982, he set the American record in the 5000 m with a time of 13:12.91.[2]

He has been the track coach for the Reebok Enclave, in charge of training distance runners who tried out for the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. He has coached three Olympians: David Strang, John Trautman and Jen Rhines; and 1993 U.S. 1500 m Champion Bill Burke. Centrowitz is a member of the U.S. Olympic Development Committee.[2]

Centrowitz began his coaching career as an assistant track coach at St. John's University (New York). He restarted the track program at American University in 1999, becoming the cross-country and track coach.[4] Centrowitz has coached seven All-American runners. In 2001–02, his athletes captured nine Patriot League titles in track and field, earned seventeen All-League honors, two All-Region honors and one All-East award. In 2003–04, both the men's and women's cross country teams captured league titles, five of the six Athletes of the Meet, twenty First-Team All-League selections and nine Second-Team All-League selections. In 2004–05, the men's cross country team won its third straight Patriot League title.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

Centrowitz was inducted into the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame with the other members of the 1977 University of Oregon Cross Country team in 1998.[5] In 2005, he was named Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Matt Centrowitz and his wife Beverly have three children and live in Annapolis, Maryland. His daughter Lauren was a runner for Stanford University,[2] and his son Matthew is also an accomplished distance runner, in high school for Broadneck High School[6] and in college for the University of Oregon Ducks, his father's alma mater.[7] Matthew Junior became the 2011 United States Champion in the 1500 metres [8] and the 2011 World Championships Bronze medalist in the 1500 metres.[9] Daughter Lauren is also an elite runner, completing her degree at Stanford University in 2009[10] and qualifying for the Olympic Trials in 2012.[11]


Awards and achievements
Preceded by
United States Marty Liquori
USA Outdoor Champion 1500 m run
Succeeded by
United States Doug Padilla