Orono, Maine – Mark Lech, who has served in each assistant coach and head coach roles throughout his 25 yr profession with the College of Maine cross nation and monitor & subject packages, has introduced his retirement. Lech will step down from his function as head cross nation and monitor & subject coach on June 30, 2022.
Lech, who coached UMaine to the 2004 America East Males’s Cross Nation Championship title, joined the Black Bears as head cross nation coach and assistant monitor & subject coach in 1998 earlier than being elevated to his present function as head coach for each cross nation and monitor & subject in 2006. Lech was named the America East Coach of the Yr in 2004. A brand new file on the boys’s group has been set annually since he took the helm of this system in 1998.
“I might like to affix your entire UMaine group in wishing Mark nice pleasure and happiness as he transitions into retirement,” Director of Athletics Ken Ralph says. “For the previous quarter-century, Mark has left his imprint on the monitor & subject and cross nation packages on the College of Maine. A whole lot of athletes have benefited from his experience, knowledge, and humor throughout his time in Orono. Thanks Mark for being a terrific Black Bear!”
Beneath Lech’s steerage, quite a few Black Bears have flourished within the distance ranks. Lech was instrumental in guiding Riley Masters to the 2009 America East Indoor and Out of doors Most Excellent Rookie awards in addition to changing into the primary Black Bear to interrupt the 4-minute mile barrier. Masters would go on to the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships within the mile the place his fifth-place end would grant him All-American honors.
“As an individual, it’s troublesome to seek out somebody with better character than Mark Lech,” Masters says. “Whereas Mark formed my athletic profession, I’m much more grateful for a way he formed the particular person I’ve develop into. Mark stays one in all my closest buddies.”
“One among my fondest reminiscences of working at UMaine was moments after breaking 4-minutes within the mile for the primary time, I appeared up into the stands and noticed Mark,” Masters continued. “Whereas the remainder of the UMaine group was going wild, Mark gave me a slight nod and cracked an excellent slighter grin. Whereas we had simply completed one thing we had labored very onerous to attain, he by no means let me settle. At that second, I knew Mark and I have been on to the following objective.”
In 2016, Lech mentored America East males’s particular person champion Jesse Orach to the title. Beforehand, Lech helped information the College of Maine Corridor of Famer, and a number of group All-American, Corey Conner to the 2009 America East title. Conner would go on to put ninth on the NCAA Regional earlier than competing on the grandest stage on the NCAA Championships in three totally different sports activities. Lech additionally performed a key function within the improvement of 12-time America East Champion, and present American Ninja Warrior star, Jesse Labreck.
Including to his spectacular legacy of mentoring athletes on the highest degree at Maine, Lech labored with James Olivier to assist develop him in the direction of successful the Beneath 20 nationwide title within the 800m occasion. Lech’s spectacular capacity to develop student-athletes within the distance occasions additionally included the success of Kelton Cullenberg competing on the cross nation nationals and Kirby Davis attaining a pair of America East particular person cross nation titles.
Beneath Lech’s steerage, management, and coaching regiments, Conner, Masters, Cullenberg, Labreck, and Joe Moody all achieved greatness in advancing to the ultimate rounds of the NCAA Championships of their respective competitions. This spectacular achievement equated to every being among the many top-20 particular person athletes within the nation of their occasions.
Total, Lech has mentored quite a few champions and All-People who’ve gone on to characterize UMaine on a few of monitor & subject’s largest phases.
The cross nation and monitor & subject packages have constantly achieved excessive marks within the classroom below the management of Lech whereas additionally remaining energetic all through the group.
Previous to becoming a member of the Black Bears, Lech spent 15 years as a scholar and as a coach at Northeastern College. As head coach with the Huskies, Lech achieved seven Coach of the Yr honors between cross nation and monitor and subject and was named the New England Intercollegiate Athletic Affiliation Division I Coach of the Yr for each indoor and out of doors monitor in 1991. Lech guided the Huskies to 10 convention championships.
A 1979 graduate of Northeastern, Lech was a two-time All-American for the Huskies, putting second within the nation in 1978 and third in 1977 within the 800-meter run. He additionally competed within the 1980 Olympic Trials within the 800 meters. Lech credit his spouse, Tricia, as being useful and influential in all of his successes throughout his tenure on the College of Maine.