Larry Wieczorek is in his 22nd season as head men's cross country coach and is in his 13th season as head men's track and field coach at the University of Iowa. He served as an assistant track and field coach for 12 years before taking the helm in 1997.
A six-time Big Ten champion (including two in cross country) and four-time all-American at Iowa, Wieczorek once held conference marks in the one, two, three, four and five-mile runs. A member of Iowa's last Big Ten track championship team in 1967, he still owns Iowa's indoor two-mile school record and has the sixth-fastest mark in the cross country 8,000 meters. He was honored for his collegiate accomplishments by being inducted into the University of Iowa's National Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
Wieczorek has coaching experience in all events. Returning to his alma mater as a field event coach at Iowa in 1985, he developed a strong squad that included two-time Big Ten long jump champion Quinn Early, Iowa's first-ever outdoor Big Ten shot put champion Chris Gambol and Gary Kostrubala, who was the first discus thrower in the Big Ten's to throw over 200. Kostrubala was also an NCAA indoor qualifier in the shot put (60-10 3/4) with the third-best mark in that event in indoor school history.
Wieczorek took over the men's cross country program in 1987, and has since shifted his track responsibilities to the distance corps. During his tenure, the cross country team has placed sixth or higher 10 times at the NCAA Regional Championships, has posted 31 all-region selections and qualified for the NCAA Championships five times. In 2002, Wieczorek was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors by the United States Cross Country Association after the Hawkeyes won the NCAA Regional for the first time in school history. In 2004, the Hawkeyes recorded their highest placings under Wieczorek at the Big Ten (3rd) and NCAA Championships (13th). He has coached several Hawkeyes to individual honors - including 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional Men's Athlete of the Year Micah VanDenend and Iowa's two Big Ten Cross Country Freshman of the Year honorees in Jared Pittman (1993) and Reed Steele (1998).
Since he was named head men's track and field coach in 1997, his goal was to build a strong Hawkeye squad around a well-balanced team. In his 12 years at the helm, Wieczorek has coached NCAA Champion long jumper Bashir Yamini, 26 all-Americans, 100 national qualifiers, 84 NCAA Midwest Regional qualifiers and 44 Big Ten Champions. Iowa's 1,600-meter relay won the 1999 Big Ten outdoor title and has earned all-America honors twice during Wieczorek's tenure. The Hawkeyes have also had at least one all-American in the throws seven of the last eight seasons, crowning a total of 15 all-Americans and 20 Big Ten champions in the field events since 1997. The Hawkeyes recorded their highest conference indoor placing (fourth) in 1997, and their highest team finish at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships (second) in 33 years at the 1999 Big Ten outdoor meet.
On the track, Wieczorek coached all-American distance runners Kevin Herd, Stetson Steele and Eric MacTaggart and Big Ten Champion Micah VanDenend. Herd, a two-time all-American in the 5,000 meters (1993-94) won Iowa's first-ever Big Ten 10,000-meter title in 1994. Steele earned both indoor and outdoor all-America honors in 2000, becoming the first Hawkeye distance runner to earn both in the same year since Wieczorek in 1967. In 2006, MacTaggart became Iowa's first all-America distance runner since Steele when he earned the honor in the 10,000 meters. VanDenend won Iowa's second conference title in the 10,000 meters in 2007, running that event for the first time in his career. VanDenend holds the school indoor 3,000 and 5,000-meter records, as well as the outdoor 5,000-meter mark.
When Wieczorek joined the Iowa staff, several of his athletes were also members of the nationally-ranked Iowa football team. He has continued to foster a strong relationship with the Iowa football staff, which has resulted in outstanding contributions from several multi-sport athletes. Current NFL standout Tim Dwight was a two-time first team all-America wide receiver and return specialist for the Hawkeye football team from 1994-97, who scored a touchdown in the 1999 Super Bowl for the Atlanta Falcons. Dwight returned to Iowa City a few months later to compete for the track team during the outdoor season. He was named Male Athlete of the 1999 Big Ten Outdoor Championships after he won the 100 meters, ran the lead leg on the winning 400-meter relay and second leg on the winning 1,600-meter relay, and placed second in the 200 meters. In 2001, fullback Jeremy Allen became Iowa's only five-time all-American in the throws and the only Hawkeye to earn the honors solely in an individual event. He was a four-time Big Ten Champion and the only thrower in conference history to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors at both the indoor and outdoor conference meets. In 2007, football players Paul Chaney, Jr. (sprints) and Trey Stross (high jump) scored team points for the Hawkeyes at the Big Ten indoor and outdoor meets, while working around spring football practice. Chaney, Jr. ran on the all-region 400-meter relay that season, and has led the team in the 60 and 200 meters the past two years.
Another of Wieczorek's goals as head coach was to create an annual outdoor home event for the Hawkeyes that would be entertaining for the community and feature outstanding competition for participating student-athletes. Now in its 11th year of existence, the annual Iowa Musco Twilight Meet is just that. Named for Musco Lighting of Oskaloosa, IA, who supplies mobile lighting equipment, the co-ed meet which featured 10 teams in 2008, starts in the late afternoon and extends into the night. In its first four years, the meet had produced 43 NCAA provisional qualifiers. Since the creation of the regional qualifying system in 2003, 253 competitors have reached qualifying standards at the twilight meet.
While improving in the league standings is considered a priority, the Hawkeyes also concern themselves with performance in the classroom. Under Wieczorek, cross country runners Kevin Herd, Chad Schwitters, Stetson Steele and Jesse Luciano earned academic all-America honors. Iowa has had an academic all-Big Ten selection each year during his tenure, totaling 65 honorees in cross country and 129 in track and field. Iowa's 13 track and field academic all-Big Ten honorees in 2008 nearly doubled the previous school record of eight, and the five cross country honorees in 2007 tied the previous Hawkeye best.
Wieczorek came to Iowa after 11 seasons as head track coach at Proviso (IL) West High School. He also served as an assistant at Proviso West for three years. His prep teams were consistent placers on the state level and several of his athletes won state titles. He served on the Illinois track advisory board and founded the prestigious Proviso Indoor Track Classic. Wieczorek was inducted into the Illinois High School Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 2000.
Wieczorek was born on September 11, 1946, in Chicago, IL. He received his B.S. degree in physical education from Iowa in 1969 and his M.S. degree in physical education from Northern Illinois University in 1973. His wife's name is Jackie.
Wieczorek's Track Results at Iowa