One of the nation’s most respected track & field mentors, Michael Friess enters his 28th season as head coach of the cross country and track & field programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2017-18.
Since joining the GNAC in 2001, UAA’s cross country teams have combined for 17 league titles, one NCAA champion, 37 All-Americans, 15 individual conference titles and 100 all-conference certificates. Additionally, the men’s team has posted a league-record seven back-to-back titles from 2010-16, while the women’s team has registered a league-record five straight titles from 2009-13.
The Seawolves have been no stranger to the NCAA Championships under Friess’ guidance, having qualified a team for the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships 24 times overall, including sending both the men’s and women’s squads in 2005 and every year between 2008-16.
In 12 seasons of full institutional sponsorship for outdoor and four for indoor, the Seawolf track & field teams have quickly left their mark on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference under Friess. Combined they have six individual NCAA titles, 103 All-America awards and 190 individual conference titles.
Friess has also piloted the track & field squads to success on a national level, qualifying athletes to the NCAAs since 2001. A program-record 14 Seawolves competed at the Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships in 2017, while 13 student-athletes have represented UAA three times (outdoor - 2016, 2017; indoor - 2016). In 2013 at the outdoor championships, the women’s team posted a program-best seventh-place finish, while the men’s team broke the top 10 in 2012, finishing ninth. For indoors, the Seawolves’ top finish is ninth (2016) for the women and tied for ninth (2014) for the men.
Friess has earned 19 conference coach-of-the-year accolades in cross country, including seven straight coach-of-the-year honors from 2010-16 for the men's team and five straight for the women from 2009-13. Meanwhile, he has 14 GNAC honors in track & field, indoor and outdoor combined. Additionally, Friess has collected 12 West Region Coach of the Year honors – seven in cross country and five in track & field.
Athletes have excelled in the classroom as well under Friess, earning over 200 academic all-conference accolades over the last 16 seasons. Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams have combined for 20 U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team recognitions since 2005, while both track & field teams have made the All-Academic Team each year since 2009. Additionally, 11 student-athletes have been named Capital One/CoSida Academic All-Americans (6 - indoor/outdoor; 5 - cross country).
Friess graduated from Linfield (Ore.) College with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 1985 and was an NAIA All-American distance runner for the Wildcats. He earned a master’s degree in sport biomechanics from the University of Oregon in 1986.
A graduate of Anchorage’s Dimond High, Friess remains active in the local running community as a competitor, coach and organizer. Some of the events Friess organizes include the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon & Half-Marathon and the Crow Pass Crossing.
A USA Track & Field Level II coach, Friess is also a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is certified by ACSM as an exercise test technologist and exercise specialist.
He and his wife Stephanie have two children, Meagan – a former Seawolf track & field athlete – and Steven.
|Position:||Assoc. Director of Athletics (Strength & Conditioning/Head XC & T&F Coach)|
|Alma Mater:||Linfield College (1985)|