Matt Centrowitz, Sr. celebrated as Director of Track & Field/Cross Country at Manhattan College

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Matt Centrowitz, Sr. plaque, Manhattan College, photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

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Matt Centrowitz, Sr., Director T&F/Cross county coach, Kerri Gallagher T&F Coach, John Lovett, photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

IMG_7517.jpegCentrowitz by the Numbers, photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

Here's Jeff Benjamin's story on the Matt Centrowitz introduction today to the Manhattan College community. Pictures and story by Jeff Benjamin, long time Senior Writer for RunBlogRun from Staten Island. Jeff's father, Jack, all of 85, was there as well. Jack Benjamin last saw Matt Centrowitz, Sr. in 1982, when Matt won the Trevira Twosome 10 Miler.

A mix of the Modern and the nostalgic were on full display this morning at the Armory Track & Fiend Center in upper Manhattan in the color of Green.

IMG_7512.jpegMatt Centrowitz, Sr. plaque, Manhattan College, photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

Manhattan College Jaspers, from President Brennan O'Donnell, Athletic Director Marianne Reilly and Longtime Alums (Especially From The Track and Field world) joined with the current crop of athletes and coaches to announce the appointment of Matt Centrowitz Sr. as the Director of the School's XC/Track & Field Program.

IMG_7526.jpegPresident Brennan O'Donnell, Athletic Director Marianne Reilly with Matt Centrowitz, Sr. photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

"Today we mark a proud moment in Manhattan College Athletics," said O'Donnell as he gestured towards Centrowitz. "We are all very excited to welcome you back!"

IMG_7519.jpegPresident Brennan O'Donnell speaking, Athletic Director Marianne Reilly with Matt Centrowitz, Sr., seated, photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

O'Donnell then spoke about the spirit and pride of the school's Track History, notably the "Miracle Win" by the team at the 1973 NCAA Indoor Champs, and describing the team's qualities as a program that, "Punches above it's weight".

AD Reilly Maryann Reilly was welcoming as well, "As we add on another building block and strengthen our program."

Reilly also called out the Jasper alums as well for making this happen.

"Without our alumni support we'd be nowhere....It's great to be Gathering the troops and restoring the program."

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Matt Centrowitz, Sr., Director T&F/Cross county coach, Kerri Gallagher T&F Coach, John Lovett, photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

As Reilly spoke about the history of the program which goes back to 1911, she also mentioned how NYC in recent years has had a tough time recruiting collegiate XC/T&F athletes. "When Dr. Norb Sander was alive he'd tell us how there are too many kids leaving New York City and now hopefully we can change it," said Reilly, who also noted the appointment of World Champs 1500 competitor Kerry Gallagher to the coaching staff as the beginning of the turning point. "We're so excited about the direction we are talking with this program."

Then it was time for the "Man of the Hour."

IMG_7528.jpegNew Director of Track & Field/Cross Countryr, Manhattan College, Matt Centrowitz, Sr., photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

The 3-Time Olympian, who came from a destitute family in the Bronx, found Running in high school which became his salvation. "When I was training in high school I'd always try to time my runs so I'd see the Manhattan guys training in Van Cortland Park...All my Track & Field heroes were at Manhattan College, and now I couldn't be more excited!" While only competing for one year in Manhattan and then transferring to Oregon, Centrowitz never forgot where he came from. "This was my beginnings in a lot of ways."

When asked about his influences, Centrowitz cited his Power Memorial HS coaches as well as others. "There are Great coaches who aren't here and I

think of them a lot too," he said.

When asked about being influenced by the Oregon philosophy, Centrowitz did mention show Bill Dellinger was extremely important to him. "But we have to adapt the training to today's kids, It's different than a Jasper Runner from 1980 and we have to make sure that Manhattan college will not be left behind."

Centrowitz adaptations with young athletes going back 4 decades includes great successes at American University all the way up to his Olympic Champion son Matthew. When asked about the 2016 Rio Race now 2 Years on, Centrowitz said, "It's

Historic and might never happen again...

It was also the Strangest race I ever saw...To lead from start to finish I think has never happened before at least in my lifetime."

As far as his new position? "I'll wear many hats and do Whatever I can do to help the team win," said Centrowitz, who'll also bring along ideas like the ultimate care of all who are involved in the program ("That includes maintenance workers...Everyone should feel like they're part of the family")

"I also hope to still get a lot of support from the alumni too."

IMG_7553.jpegJeff Benjamin, Jack Benjamin, Matt Centrowitz, Sr., Gene McCarthy, President, CEO, ASICS America, photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

What most excites Centrowitz is the growing environment of the program.

"The environment is so different

In that the Manhattan support and also from alumni has been great."

IMG_7554.jpegAlums, media at Matt Centrowitz, Sr. Introduction, photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

"We're also a good team along with the coaching staff and I have a lot of history here and we're a family," Centrowitz said.

"And now I couldn't be more excited to be where I chased my heroes at Van Cortland Park...

I'm so happy I can call Manhattan College my home again."

IMG_7518.jpegWhat people have said about Matt Centrowitz, Sr., photo by Jeff Benjamin, August 22, 2018

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