On July 19, 2007 Matt Roe was hired to direct Butler’s Track and Field/Cross Country programs. Roe came to Indianapolis after quickly developing strong distance programs at Long Beach State (2004-2007) and Western Illinois (2001-2004). While furthering Butler’s strong international ties, Roe a ten time conference coach of the year, has developed a successful program model firmly committed to advancing regional and national recruiting, academic achievement, team culture, and overall program development.
The culmination of Roe’s vision and commitment to program development came to fruition with a 3rd place finish for the Butler women at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The women’s historic run in the fall of 2013, signaling the end of Roe’s first full recruiting cycle, revealed a dramatic and historic rise through the NCAA ranks. The women’s NCAA podium appearance was bested in Butler Athletics history only by Men’s Basketball NCAA runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011.
A telling sign of the programs progress under Roe is in the books. The most dominant record breaking era in Butler history, 28 school records have been set in every area on the track and in the field. Eclipsing and adding to an already stout distance record board, Butler’s all-time list now ranks competitively against the nation’s top distance programs. The majority of Butler’s middle and long distance records, 18 in total, have fallen under Roe’s direction. Included in these marks are the first two Butler men under the four minute mile barrier.
Under Roe’s direction the program has enjoyed success at the NCAA national level in both track and cross country. Nationally, the program had produced 19 NCAA finals qualifiers, 14 All Americans, and one NCAA team podium finish. In 2009, Roe led Butler to its best Men’s NCAA finish in Outdoor Track (40th). During the 2009 championships, Butler joined Stanford and Oregon as one of three programs in the country to produce a male qualifier at 1500, 3000 meter steeplechase, and 5000 meters. In the 2010 indoor season Roe led Rob Mullett to Butler’s first sub four minute mile. Mullet’s 7th place in the NCAA mile final led Butler to its 2nd best NCAA indoor finish in school history (56th). At the 2011 NCAA Championships, Butler earned distinction as one of six schools nationally to place a male and female qualifier at 1500 meters. Outdoors in 2013 Butler had its first female multiple event NCAA finalist, as well as the first female to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2014. Butler was one of six schools nationally to qualify a female in both the 1500 and 5000 meters at the 2014 Outdoor Championships.
From 2008-2014 Roe has advanced 44 Butler athletes to NCAA first round of track competition. At the 2011 East Preliminary round, Butler was the only school to qualify a male competitor in the 800, 1500, 5000, and 10,000 meters while simultaneously placing women in the 1500, 5000 and 10000. In 2012, Butler was one of five schools in the NCAA East Regional Championships to have a male and a female to qualify for the 1500 meter final. In 2013, Butler placed three women in the NCAA first round 5000 meters a feat bested nationally only by Iowa State and Providence.
At the Great Lakes Regional Cross Country Championships, Roe’s men have placed 6th or better five times including a school best (tie) 3rd in 2008. The women have four top ten finishes including the best two year run in school history, culminating with a 2nd place finish in 2013 and the first automatic qualifying spot to the NCAA Championships in school history. Individually, Roe has had a Bulldog finish in the top 3 or better in four times. In 2011 sophomore Callum Hawkins was named Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year becoming the 2nd athlete in school history to win a regional individual title. In 2013 Roe produced seven all region athletes including all five of female scoring runners. In total, Roe has mentored an impressive 25 All Great Lakes Regional harriers during his time in Indianapolis.
Butler’s first year in the Big East Conference proved that the Bulldogs were willing and able to compete against some of the nation’s finest athletes. In the fall both the men and women placed 3rd at the Big East Cross Country Championships. School records and time all-time marks dominated the Bulldogs performance at the Indoor and Outdoor Championships as Bulldogs achieved one of the most prolific program efforts in school history. The Bulldogs earned an impressive 25 All Big East honors throughout the 2013-2014. Amongst these marks were Butler Athletics first two Big East Champions crowned at the Outdoor Championships. Junior Nicole Hudec took the Triple Jump, while Senior Kirsty Legg ran away with the 1500 recording the second fastest winning time in Big East history (4:16.73).
Butler’s lone year in the Atlantic 10 (2012-2013) was a rousing success under Roe. In 2012, the Bulldog Cross Country program brought Butler athletics its only two A10 team titles in dramatic fashion. The men’s 83 point margin of victory was the largest in conference history. Not to be outdone, Roe’s women led by individual champion Katie Clark, unseated defending champ La Salle by a 33 point spread. During the indoor and outdoor campaigns Butler proved dominant on the track. The Bulldogs collected eight A10 individual titles, one relay title, and two championship records. In total, Butler athletes earned 26 All A10 honors, three Rookie of the Year awards, and one Athlete of the Year recognition in 2012-2013.
From 2007-2012 as a member of the Horizon League, Roe’s athletes were nothing short of dominant. In just five years, Roe’s athletes achieved a staggering 171 All Horizon League honors, 66 Individual and Relay titles, 16 Athletes of the Year, 14 Horizon League Championship records, nine Cross Country team titles, and eight Newcomer of the Year awards. While furthering conference dominance in Cross Country, significant strides were made on the Track. At the 2010 Indoor Championships, the program had its best combined finish in school history with a pair of runner-up finishes. For the women it was the best team finish in school history, while ranking second all time for the men.
In the classroom Roe’s athletes have consistently raised the bar, annually ranking as on one of top Division I programs. Butler’s NCAA APR ratings improved immediately under Roe’s leadership. The Bulldogs are now consistently awarded 10%APR recognition through the NCAA. The Bulldogs are also a consistent recipient of USTFCCCA All Academic Recognition.
In the 2009 track season, Roe’s women ranked second nationally (3.547), while the men were finished the year ranked 4th (3.347) in overall team GPA in Track and Field. For their combined effort the Bulldogs led the nation as a program in team GPA, outpacing Yale for the top spot. In 2012, Butler’s women cross country team was one of only the three schools nationally to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships while achieving a top 20 NCAA ranking in team GPA. The women followed up their cross country accolades with the ninth best team GPA nationally on the Track in 2013. During the 2013 Cross Country season Butler was the only school nationally to have three women earn a 4.0 on the USTFCCCA All-Academic team. During Roe’s tenure the program has earned an unprecedented 13 All- District, seven Academic All American awards. In 2014 Mara Olson became the first Butler female to win the prestigious NCAA Elite 89 award winner for Indoor Track and Field.
Prior to taking the reigns’ at Butler Roe engineered one of the top turnarounds in Division I distance running at Long Beach State from 2004-2007. With their finishes at the Big West Conference meet, the 2006 cross country squad completed the best two year run in school history. The women’s 2nd place conference finish in 2006 was best in school history. In 2005 both cross country teams leapt from 6th to 3rd at the Big West Conference meet, marking the best 49er finish in 17 years. At the West Regional meet, the women vaulted from 20th in 2004 to 10th in 2005. The men climbed from 15th to 10th place matching the women’s team finish. Collectively, Roe’s squads combined conference and regional improvements were unmatched by any competitive Division I school in the country from 2004-2005.
On the track the 49er’s were equally successful under Roe. Roe’s men played a vital role in the first conference track title in 30 years. At the 2006 Big West Championships, Roe’s men tallied an all-time 49er distance best of 34 points to help secure the conference crown. Not to be outdone, the women recorded 33 points at the Big West meet, also an all-time 49er best. The women’s distance contribution helped guide the team to a 3rd place finish and the best two year conference run in school history.
At LBSU Roe’s athletes did more than improve they did so at impressive rates. Most notably, Jim Grabow became the first male distance runner in school history to earn All American honors finishing 11th at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships. Grabow, a 14:50 5000 meter junior college transfer in 2004, clocked personal bests of 13:44.04 in the 5000 meters and 7:59.40 at 3000 meters in his final season under Roe’s guidance. Grabow ended 2007 ranked 6th on the U.S. indoor list at 5000 meters.
In less than three years at The Beach, Roe’s runners recorded 51 All-time top 10 marks, 14 All Big West Selections, 12 school records, four NCAA National Qualifying marks, a Big West Conference Champion, one All American, and one Academic All American.
Prior to his appointment at The Beach, Roe made Western Illinois one of the most improved Division I distance programs in the nation from 2001-2004. In his first year, Roe also helped the Leatherneck men gain their 2nd Conference Outdoor Track title in school history in 2002, coaching the first individual male conference distance champion in a decade. At the 2003 Mid Con Outdoor Championships Roe’s men and women continued to gain momentum combining for a school record 98 distance points. Their collective performance stood in stark contrast to the 27 total distance points in 2001Outdoor Championships, just months before Roe’s hire.
As the Head Cross Country Coach at Western, Roe led both the men’s and the women’s program from the bottom to near the top of the Mid Continent Conference. In only his second season, Roe’s women went from sixth to second at the Conference Championships, establishing one of the top one- year turnarounds in Division I from 2001-2002. The women’s finish was best in school history. Roe’s men improved dramatically at the conference meet jumping from seventh in 2001 to fourth in 2002 to third in 2003. All tolled in Roe’s three years at Western he produced 24 All Mid Continent athletes, nine runner-up conference finisher, three conference champions, and two school records.
Prior to coaching at Western Illinois, Roe served as an Assistant Track and Cross Country Coach at the University of Montana from 1999-2001. Roe helped guide the Grizzlies to 11 individual Big Sky titles, eight NCAA appearances, and two All American honors. Roe assisted the 2000 Lady Grizzlies to their best all-time Big Sky (second) and Mountain Regional (fifth) cross country finishes. The 2000 season was capped off by Sabrina Monro’s runner-up finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
A standout on the track and trail for Division I national distance power University of Portland, Roe was a three-time All West Coast Conference harrier. A three-time WCC scholar athlete honoree, Roe earned degrees in English (1997) and History (1998) from Portland. A USATF Level II certified coach, Roe earned his M.S. in Physical Education (Sport Psychology) from Western Illinois in 2003.