One of the nation’s most respected track & field mentors, Michael Friess enters his 27th season as head coach of the cross country and track & field programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2016-17.
In 11 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, 93 All-America awards and 161 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 15 league titles, one NCAA champion, 34 All-Americans, 13 individual conference titles and 94 all-conference certificates. Additionally, the women’s team has posted a league-record five straight titles from 2009-13, while the men’s team has registered six back-to-back titles from 2010-15.
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 22 times overall, including sending both the men’s and women’s squads in 2005 and every year between 2008-15.
Friess has earned 18 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 11 GNAC honors in track & field, indoor and outdoor combined. Additionally, Friess has collected 11 West Region Coach of the Year honors – seven in cross country and four in track & field.
Athletes have excelled in the classroom as well under Friess, earning over 200 academic all-conference accolades over the last 15 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, six 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. 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)|