A staple of Miami's men's cross country and track and field programs, head coach Warren Mandrell is in the midst of his 20th season with the RedHawks and continues to lead a pair of teams that have been a model of consistency both athletically and academically. During a 15-year stretch from 1996 to 2010, Mandrell's cross country teams did not finish lower than fourth in the Mid-American Conference, winning a pair conference titles in 1997 and 1998. His track and field squads have produced 20 MAC gold medalists, including 15 conference titlists over the past 10 seasons.
At the helm of the Miami cross country squad, Mandrell has produced three All-Americans, with David Mitchell taking home All-America honors in 2004 and Dan Huling and Chris Swisher both earning All-America plaudits in 2005. Mitchell was one of the most decorated runners during Mandrell's tenure as a two-time MAC runner-up and national qualifier in 2003 and 2004. Huling, meanwhile, became the first Miamian under Mandrell to take home the conference's individual title in 2005. He also placed 26th at the 2005 NCAA Championship, the highest finish for a RedHawk at the national meet since Bob Reef finished 17th in 1972. Pat Sovacool placed 65th at the 2008 NCAA Championship, as he competed in the race for a second straight year.
Under Mandrell, the RedHawks have won a pair of MAC Cross Country Championships and posted nine runner-up finishes, three third-place finishes and two fourth-place showings. He has guided Miami to a runner-up finish at the league championship in three of the last six seasons (2007, 2008 and 2010) with two runners earning First-Team All-MAC honors all three years. Jarrod Eick garnered First-Team All-MAC in 2011 and Second-Team All-MAC in 2012, when Steve Kiplagat picked up First-Team All-MAC accolades. Prior to finishing fourth at the MAC meet in 2006, Miami finished as the conference runner-up for the second straight season in 2005, as Huling and Swisher placed first and third, respectively. Miami also placed 10th in the notoriously tough Great Lakes Region that year and posted. In 2012, Mandrell helped Miami place sixth in the Great Lakes Region, just missing out on an NCAA Championship berth while tying the team's best ever finish at the meet under Mandrell (2003).
The 2004 season saw Mandrell lead the RedHawks to a second-place finish in the MAC--the team's highest finish since 2001--and a ninth-place finish at the Great Lakes Regional, one spot short of a national bid. Three of Mandrell's runners were All-MAC First-Team selections, and Mitchell earned an invitation to the NCAA Championship after a 12th-place regional finish.
Mandrell's squad reached new heights in 2003 when the RedHawks qualified as a team for the NCAA Cross Country Championship. After taking third at the MAC Championship and entering the meet ranked No. 25 in the nation, Miami finished as the top MAC school at the national meet, taking 14th, its highest final national ranking since 1997.
From 1999-2002, Miami posted three runner-up finishes and one third-place finish at the conference meet. In 1998, Mandrell was honored as the Ohio Cross Country Coach of the Year after guiding the RedHawks to their second consecutive MAC Championship and a berth in the NCAA Championship. He has also received Ohio Cross Country Coach of the Year twice in the last three seasons (2010 and 2012). Mandrell earned MAC Coach of the Year honors in 1997 when his RedHawks ended their 12-year MAC Championship drought and finished the season ranked in the nation's top 25. Miami climbed as high as 11th in the 1997 polls.
As the head of the Miami track and field team, Mandrell coached 11 Mideast Regional qualifiers from 2007-2009, helping two of those reach the NCAA Championships, and saw 20 RedHawks compete at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in the last four seasons, including seven in 2013, the most ever under the current format. Sovacool finished 16th in the 5,000 meters at the 2008 NCAA Championships and Kevin Dwyer made back-to-back trips to the NCAA Championships, finishing in the top-20 in the decathlon in 2008 and 2009. Dwyer claimed the MAC decathlon title in 2008, becoming the first RedHawk to do so since 2001, while Michael Veatch earned the 3,000-meter steeplechase league title that same year. Mandrell also guided Sovacool to the 1,500m and 5,000m MAC crowns in 2008 and Eick to the 1,500m MAC title in 2013. Four RedHawks have captured individual MAC championships in the last two years.
One of the most successful athletes mentored by Mandrell was Huling, who turned in one of the most impressive individual track seasons in 2006. Huling won the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and 3,000-meter steeplechase at the MAC Championships, becoming the first athlete in program history to win three individual conference titles at the same meet, and he was the named the meet's Most Outstanding Performer. Huling then went on to place sixth in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Championship, earning All-America honors and becoming the first Miami athlete since the 1944-45 seasons to be named a dual All-American in both cross country and track and field. Huling went on to win the U.S. steeplechase title at the 2010 U.S. National Championships and was tabbed North American Steeplechase Runner of the Year in 2009, while he has competed in three World Championships for Team USA.
During the 2005 season, both Jake Dunkleberger and Huling won MAC titles. For the second year in row, Dunkleberger captured the conference hammer title, setting the school record in the event in 2004, and went on to become an All-American at the NCAA Championships. Huling was the MAC Champion in the 5,000 meters and set the Miami record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Mideast Regional. Five other athletes also have won conference titles during Mandrell's tenure.
Mandrell's student-athletes also have achieved success in the classroom. Since Mandrell's arrival in 1994, Miami has produced over 100 Academic All-MAC and MAC Honor Roll selections, including 25 Academic All-MAC athletes in the last five seasons, with three earning CoSIDA/Capital One academic all-district honors. Following the 2005-06 season, the RedHawks were honored by the National Collegiate Division I Track Coaches Association for having the 16th-highest team grade-point average in the nation (3.02). Mandrell has guided three Academic All-America selections during his tenure, including Sovacool in 2007-08. Miami's cross country team has also earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team status 17 times under Mandrell while the track and field team was the lone MAC squad to earn the distinction in 2010 and earned the honor again each of the last three years.
Prior to taking over at Miami, Mandrell spent 12 years as the top assistant coach for the men's and women's cross country and track and field teams at Northern Arizona University. He was a part of the school's five men's and six women's Big Sky Conference Championships in cross country, as well as the 14 men's and six women's indoor and outdoor league titles.
With Mandrell as an assistant, NAU's men's cross country squad finished in the top 20 at the NCAA Championships six times between 1984 and 1991, including a second-place finish in 1988, and the women's program finished in the top 20 every year from 1986 to 1992. He coached seven men's and seven women's All-Americans while at NAU.
Outside of coaching, Mandrell served more than 20 years as an Army officer in both active duty and reserve forces. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Mandrell commanded a basic training company on active duty, and he also served as the Director of Plans and Operations for the Arizona National Guard Navajo Army Depot.
Born in Lincoln, Ill., Mandrell graduated with honors from Michigan Technological University in 1978 and was Most Valuable Performer of the Michigan Tech cross country team in 1974. Mandrell also competed in track and field and cross country skiing as a student-athlete. He earned his master's degree in physical education from Northern Arizona in 1984.
Mandrell, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, resides in Oxford, Ohio, with his wife, Peggy, and children, Heather, Nathan and Adam.
Miami Finishes Under Mandrell
MIAMI TRACK AND FIELD FINISHES