Matthew Centrowitz Sr.
Personal information
Born (1955-01-28) January 28, 1955 (age 68)
New York, New York
Alma materUniversity of Oregon
CountryUnited States of America
SportTrack and Field
Event5,000 meters
Coached byBill Dellinger
Medal record
Men’s Athletics
Representing  United States
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1979 San Juan, PR 5000 m
USA Outdoor Championships
Gold medal – first place 1982 5000 m
Gold medal – first place 1981 5000 m
Gold medal – first place 1980 5000 m
Gold medal – first place 1979 5000 m

Matthew Centrowitz (born January 28, 1955[1]) is a two-time Olympic distance runner, a four-time United States champion, a collegiate All-American, a nationally renowned high school athlete, and a collegiate cross country and track coach.[2]

Life and early career

Centrowitz was born in New York, New York, the son of Theresa (Corrigan) and Sid Centrowitz.[1] His father was Jewish and his mother was an Irish immigrant.[3] He attended Power Memorial Academy, where he won state championships in the half mile, one mile and two mile events and became the first New Yorker to break nine minutes in the two mile run (8:56.2).[2] In 1973 (his senior year), he was ranked as the country's number one high school mile runner.[2] He has the fourth best all-time high school 1500 m time of 3:43.4 and still holds the state record in the 1500 m and mile (4:02.7)[4] events.[2]

He attended Manhattan College in New York[5] for one year, then transferred to the University of Oregon. In 1976, he broke Steve Prefontaine's 1500 m school record, running 3:36.7. He was on the Ducks' 1977 NCAA Cross Country Championship team and graduated from Oregon in 1978.[2]

International competition

Centrowitz was a member of the US Olympic Team in 1976, competing in the 1500 m.[2] He qualified for the 1980 U.S. Olympic team but did not compete due to the U.S. Olympic Committee's boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Russia. He was one of 461 athletes to receive a Congressional Gold Medal instead.[6] He won a gold medal in the 5000 m run at the 1979 Pan-American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico,[2] and followed that with four United States national championships in the 5000 m run from 1979–82.[7] In 1982, he set the American record in the 5000 m with a time of 13:12.91.[2]


He was the track coach for the Reebok Enclave, in charge of training distance runners who tried out for the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. He has coached three Olympians: David Strang, John Trautman and Jen Rhines; and 1993 U.S. 1500 m Champion Bill Burke. Centrowitz is a member of the U.S. Olympic Development Committee.[2]

Centrowitz began his coaching career as an assistant track coach at St. John's University (New York). He restarted the track program at American University in 1999, becoming the cross-country and track coach.[8] Centrowitz has coached seven All-American runners. In 2001–02, his athletes captured nine Patriot League titles in track and field, earned seventeen All-League honors, two All-Region honors and one All-East award. In 2003–04, both the men's and women's cross country teams captured league titles, five of the six Athletes of the Meet, twenty First-Team All-League selections and nine Second-Team All-League selections. In 2004–05, the men's cross country team won its third straight Patriot League title.[2]

In July, 2018, he was named Cross Country and Track and Field Director at Manhattan College.[9]

Awards and honors

Centrowitz was inducted into the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame with the other members of the 1977 University of Oregon Cross Country team in 1998.[10] In 2005, he was named Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year.[2]

Personal life

Matt Centrowitz and his wife Beverly had three children while living in Annapolis, Maryland. Two of his children, daughter Lauren and son Matthew Jr. are also accomplished distance runners. Lauren competed for Stanford University[11] and qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2012.[12] Matt Jr competed for the University of Oregon (his father's alma mater)[13] and now competes professionally with the Bowerman Track Club.[14] In 2011, Matt Jr. became the 2011 United States Champion in the 1500 metres[15] and was the bronze medalist at 1500 metres in the 2011 World Championships.[16] In 2016, he won the gold medal at the 2016 World Indoor Championships[17] and then won the gold medal in the 1500 metres at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first U.S. runner to win the event since 1908.


  1. ^ a b "Matt Centrowitz". Olympics at Archived from the original on April 17, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Refreshing to..." AU Eagles.
  3. ^ " Exclusive: Read Chapter Two of Matt Centrowitz's New Book "Like Father, Like Son"". Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  4. ^ "Last One on the Books - the Complete Story Behind Centro's State Record Mile".
  5. ^ "Washington City Paper". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Caroccioli, Tom; Caroccioli, Jerry (May 2008). Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Highland Park, IL: New Chapter Press. pp. 243–253. ISBN 978-0942257403.
  7. ^ "USA Track & Field". USA Track & Field. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008.
  8. ^ "Q&A with Matt Centrowitz". Momentum Media.
  9. ^ "Matt Centrowitz Named Director of XC, Track and Field - Manhattan College". Manhattan College. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  10. ^ "1977 Cross Country Team". Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  11. ^ "Track & Field: Lauren Centrowitz". Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  12. ^ "USA Track & Field - Status of Entries". USA Track & Field.
  13. ^ "Matthew Centrowitz".
  14. ^ "Matthew Centrowitz Oregon Project Bio". Archived from the original on September 16, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  15. ^ "USATF - Events - 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships". USA Track & Field.
  16. ^ "Timetable & Results:Men's 1500 Meter - Final". Archived from the original on January 22, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  17. ^ "Matt Centrowitz Wins Gold in Oregon". March 21, 2016.

Awards and achievements Preceded by Marty Liquori USA Outdoor Champion 5000 m run 1979–82 Succeeded by Doug Padilla