For the 2019-20 season, the Lewis & Clark cross country team welcomes new coach Matthew Barreau.
Prior to his hiring at LC, Barreau coached for eight years at Division III colleges and was incredibly successful. He has led his teams to nearly 100 conference championships while also coaching 50 national qualifiers and 300 all-conference athletes. Most recently, Barreau coached at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His first coaching job was at Portland State University and he is thrilled to return to Oregon.
“I’ve wanted to come back and coach in Oregon, so this is a job I can safely say is my dream job,” Barreau said.
Beyond the favorable location, Barreau saw LC as a strong institution because of the existing academic culture and athletic opportunities.
“I think the matching of academic excellence with the potential for athletic excellence at LC is really intriguing,” Barreau said. “There is nothing more rewarding than when you can line up greatness across (athletic and academic)”
In order to achieve this athletic potential, Barreau has introduced a coaching philosophy that is centered around individual athletes. He wants to instill the belief that all athletes are capable of greatness.
“My coaching style is student led,” he said “I think it is my job as a coach to show people what they are capable of. I want to show them that if they really believe in something they can do it. I think students here at LC understand that academically and they understand the opportunities available to them and I want them to see that capability is available in athletics too.”
Barreau emphasizes that his coaching style is centered around challenging athletes to push past what they believe they are capable of. He believes that this will translate into a culture of success and long term success. This does not mean setting specific short-term goals, but instead uniting behind a singular team identity that will create a successful future.
“I think we need to find a vision and a purpose,” Barreau said. “If we think that we can be one of the top programs in the country, we have to do things this year that will help us set up for that.”
Thus far, the team has had a positive response to Barreau’s philosophy. Etta Moen ’21, a team member, believes he has been instrumental in building strong team goals.
“He has created new goals, news focuses and more team driven culture,” Moen said. “I definitely think we have responded thus far to (the goals) and am looking forward to what the rest of the season brings.”
Ultimately, Barreau has lofty goals for his team and wants to ensure that each athlete on the team believes in those goals. However, he recognizes that it is up to the athletes themselves to truly achieve this success.
“You have to get (the athletes) to open their eyes themselves and create opportunities for them to see their capabilities,” he said.
Barreau believes that this team can be the building block for years of success. In short, he wants to create a winner’s mentality through strong relationships of trust with his athletes.
“If you align hearts and minds, special things happen — I am confident this is a place where that can happen,” he said.
The next cross country meet is on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational.