One of the nation’s most respected track & field mentors, Michael Friess enters his 29th season as head coach of the cross country and track & field programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2018-19.
In 13 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 eight individual NCAA titles, 120 All-America awards and 200 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 13 Seawolves competed at the Division II Indoor & Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 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.
Since joining the GNAC in 2001, UAA’s cross country teams have combined for 18 league titles, two NCAA champions, 40 All-Americans, 16 individual conference titles and 107 all-conference certificates.
Friess has earned 20 conference coach-of-the-year accolades in cross country, including five straight women’s coach-of-the-year honors from 2009-13 and six straight from 2010-15 for the men. Meanwhile, he has 14 GNAC honors in track & field, indoor and outdoor combined. Additionally, Friess has collected 13 West Region Coach of the Year honors – seven in cross country and six in track & field.
Athletes have excelled in the classroom as well under Friess, earning over 200 academic all-conference accolades over the last 17 seasons. Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams have combined for 22 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, seven student-athletes have been named Capital One/CoSida Academic All-Americans.
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, and was inducted into the Linfield Hall of Fame in 2018. 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 of the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon & Half-Marathon.
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)|