Head coach boasts successful tenure with impressive first season turn around, nation-wide recognition
Matthew Barreau the head men’s and women’s cross country (XC) coach, has been elected president of the Division III U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Executive Committee for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Barreau was named head coach of the XC team in 2019 and is entering his third season of coaching for Lewis & Clark. In his first season at LC, Barreau led the women’s XC team from last place to third in the division. After serving on the committee for the past 10 years as both a member and vice president, Barreau will become president for the next three years.
“About 10 years ago, I started on one of those committees and then I enjoyed being in it and probably three or four years into the committee, I put myself up to be elected,” Barreau said. “It’s been about six years of being second vice president, and three years as vice president and then starting in January, I became president.”
DIII is the largest division of the NCAA, with 430 institutions and 40% of NCAA athletes competing in DIII. LC plays in the Northwest Conference with nine other schools.
Barreau was hired in the summer of 2019, so he was not able to oversee and support the teams’ training that year. However, he took his role very seriously and pushed his student-athletes to improve immensely.
“It was about just helping show the team what was possible,” Barreau said. “I think that’s what elicited the biggest changes that year … That big jump was largely, I don’t say by accident, but it just was never planned.”
The shift from being last in the conference one year to being third in the division this past season has shown Barreau’s ability to encourage and inspire students to do their best work. Becoming a better runner is about improving the body’s capacity for endurance. Barreau showed them the impact practice can have on a runner’s development and the team listened.
Though he was not a part of the XC team when the drastic change happened, Caleb Silvermen ’24 spoke to Barreau’s skill as a coach.
“I think he’s a great leader, he’s super knowledgeable and I think people gravitate toward him and his advice,” Silvermen said. “He definitely brings a competitive mindset and a push for greatness and making sure we have the resources for it.”
With the added influx of first-year runners as well as a consistent and passionate coach, Frankie Reid ’24 is excited to show the community the skills of the men’s team.
“We have the postseason coming up so I think we’re all pretty excited for that and to show everyone the hard work we’ve been putting in and what we bring to the table,” Reid said.
The Northwest Conference Championship meet takes place on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Killarney West Golf Course in Hillsborough, OR.
Along with the academics, LC’s proximity to Tryon State Park’s trails and the greater city of Portland appeal to XC and long distance recruits.
We’re one of the best academic schools in the conference and distance runners are notoriously pretty good academically,” Barreau said. “So all the things like up to this place that attracts quite a bit of people and a talented pool of distance runners, we should be pretty successful.”