Matt McGuirk is in his 16th year as the head track and field coach at Willamette University and is in his 20th year on the coaching staff in 2018-19. He was named NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year in 2004 (men) and 2007 (women).
In both 2004 and 2005, the Willamette men’s team ended the season by bringing home NCAA trophies for Top 4 finishes. In the Northwest Conference, the Bearcats have set a high bar of excellence by winning six men's titles and nine women’s team titles since 2002. McGuirk and his staff have coached 24 athletes to 47 All-America performances. They have helped WU athletes win numerous All-Conference awards.
One of McGuirk’s top athletes was seven-time NCAA national champion Nick Symmonds, who won the 1,500 three times and the 800 four times. He was fifth in the 800 at the 2012 London Olympics, second at the World Championships in 2013, fifth in 2011 and sixth in 2009. Symmonds was also a semifinalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has won five U.S. national titles in the 800, placed second twice and has claimed two indoor titles.
Among McGuirk’s proudest achievements is coaching three Bearcats (Jacob Stout, Aaron Hollingshead and Scott Overby) to All-American status at the 2004 NCAA Championships in the steeplechase, his primary race as a collegiate and professional runner.
Prior to his arrival at Willamette, McGuirk was the first head coach at Wilsonville High School and built the cross country program from the ground up. In only its fifth year of existence, the school won its first State cross country title. Since then, Wilsonville has annually been one of the top Class 3A programs in Oregon.
McGuirk is a native of Eugene, Ore. After completing a decorated high school career at South Eugene HS, McGuirk embarked upon an excellent college career at the University of Oregon. At U of O, he became a member of a select group by lettering eight times in cross country and track & field. McGuirk also put his name in the Oregon record books by racing to All-America status in the steeplechase in 1984, helping the Ducks win the NCAA outdoor track and field national championship. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree. He majored in Finance and Marketing.
McGuirk has shown an ability to transfer his athletic experiences into true coaching expertise, allowing dedicated student-athletes to realize immediate results while working toward long-term goals.
Coaching Quick Facts
Full Name: Matthew McGuirk
Hometown: Eugene, Oregon
High School: South Eugene
Alma Mater: University of Oregon, ‘88 (B.A. in Finance/Marketing)
Running Career: 1983 U.S. Junior Steeplechase Champion; Ranked Top 40 in the world in steeplechase (1992 & 1993) Placed seventh in the steeplechase in the 1992 Olympic Trials, setting a personal record of 8:26.10; 1993 Olympic Festival steeplechase champion