Bill and Jim Ashton give back to the UI in honor of teammates and coach Cretzmeyer
Iowa hosts the Big Ten Championships Sunday beginning at 10:45 a.m. (CT).
Former UI letterwinner Jon Michael Brandt joins the Iowa coaching staff in 2014
They played a little football at Kinnick on Saturday
The May 2013 edition includes a feature on Hawkeye men's basketball
Iowa Black & Gold Invitational Friday, Sept. 13, 2013
Larry Wieczorek, the 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year, is in his second season as Director of Track and Field for the University of Iowa. He served as head men's cross country coach for the Hawkeyes for 26 seasons (1987-2012) and head men's track and field coach for 16 seasons (1997-2012). Wieczorek served as an assistant track and field coach for 12 years (1985-96).
A six-time Big Ten champion (including two in cross country) and four-time All-American student-athlete at Iowa, Wieczorek once held conference marks in the one, two, three, four and five-mile runs. A member of Iowa's Big Ten track championship team in 1967, Wieczorek led the Hawkeyes back to the top of the Big Ten by capturing the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Championship. The Hawkeye men crowned three conference champions on their home track, and Wieczorek was named Big Ten and USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
Wieczorek led Iowa to an eighth place finish at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, the highest finish in school history, and led the Hawkeyes to top 25 finishes at the 2012 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Wieczorek still owns Iowa's indoor two-mile school record and his indoor mile and outdoor 5,000-meter marks rank second in school history. 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 to throw over 200. Kostrubala was also an NCAA indoor qualifier in the shot put (60-10 3/4) with the third-best indoor mark in school history.
Wieczorek took over the men's cross country program in 1987 and shifted his track responsibilities to the distance corps. During his tenure, the cross country team placed sixth or higher 11 times at the NCAA Regional Championships, posted 38 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 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).
One of his goals as head men's track and field coach was to build a strong Hawkeye squad around a well-balanced team. In his 15 years at the helm, Wieczorek coached NCAA Champion long jumper Bashir Yamini, 48 All-Americans, 135 national qualifiers, 150 NCAA Regional qualifiers and 50 Big Ten Champions. Iowa's 1,600-meter relay won the 2011 Big Ten indoor title, the 1999 Big Ten outdoor title and has earned Al-America honors five times during Wieczorek's tenure. The Hawkeyes also had at least one All-American in the throws eight times, crowning a total of 18 All-Americans and 23 Big Ten champions in the field events.
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 earned All-America honors 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 still holds the school indoor and outdoor 5,000 meter records.
When Wieczorek joined the Iowa staff, several of his athletes were also members of the nationally-ranked Iowa football team. He continued to foster a strong relationship with the Iowa football staff, which resulted in outstanding contributions from several multi-sport athletes. 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 first thrower in conference history to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors at both the indoor and outdoor conference meets. Paul Chaney, Jr. had an strong outdoor season for the Hawkeyes in 2009 after rejoining the team after spring football practice. In his outdoor season debut at the 100th annual Drake Relays, Chaney, Jr. anchored the winning men's 400-meter relay (40.71) and the Iowa's men's 800-meter relay to a school-record (1:24.85). He earned Iowa's Big Ten Outdoor Sportmanship Award in 2009, qualifying for the NCAA regional and scoring points at the Big Ten outdoor meet in three events. He led the team in the 60 and 200 meters from 2007-09.
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 14th year of existence, the annual Iowa Musco Twilight Meet is just that. Named for Musco Lighting of Oskaloosa, Iowa, who supplies mobile lighting equipment, the co-ed meet starts in the late afternoon and extends into the night. In its first four years, the meet had produced 43 NCAA provisional qualifiers. From 2003-08, 253 competitors reached NCAA qualifying standards at the twilight meet. The meet was cancelled in 2009 due to ongoing renovations at Cretzmeyer Track.
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 national academic honors. Iowa had an academic All-Big Ten selection each year during his tenure, totaling 85 honorees in cross country and 184 in track and field.
Wieczorek came to Iowa after 11 seasons as head track coach at Proviso (Ill.) 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, Ill. 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 Cross Country Results at Iowa