College Coaches Sit Down: Mark Guthrie

Mark Guthrie

Central Michigan University

Gender: Men & Women


Michigan MileSplit: Where did you grow up and what were some of your fondest memories of high school running?

Mark Guthrie: I grew up in LaSalle-Peru, Illinois and I was a thrower not a runner, although they did have me tryout for the 4 x 100 relay, but thought better of that once they saw my trial times.  My best memory from high school was participating at the state track meet my senior year in the shot put and finishing eighth when Illinois high school still only had one division.


MM: What do you look for in a potential recruit/What is your program's recruiting process like?

MG: Initially like most collegiate coaches, you are drawn to the performance first. Once identified I want to know more about their body type and their academic preparation.  Personality and work ethic are big factors in my book.  I want to be able to engage with the prospect and be able to carry an intelligent conversation with them throughout the recruitment process. From that point forward I want to develop a rapport and a comfort level with them leading to an on campus visit and if appropriate an offer of aid.  Even with all the technology available some athletes do slip by the reporting systems up to and through the state meet; and there are gems that can be found that late in the process, but I think that is becoming more rare than normal.


MM: Many kids would love for even a chance to walk-on to a collegiate program. What are your walk-on policies?

MG: Walk-ons can play a part of the recruitment process since track and cross country have limited scholarships.  When putting together walk-on standards I try to establish performances that through intelligent work and attention to detail, the athlete has the opportunity to score by their third year in the program at the conference meet.  I will give a walk-on at least to the middle of October their first year the opportunity to indicate that there is sufficient talent there to continue the evaluation process through the conclusion of the fall semester before making a final decision.


MM: Do you make a point of attending high school cross country meets to scout athletes out?

MG: I have always tried to attend meets as necessary and have that expectation of my coaching staff.  With the variety of on-line video options available, that too becomes a tool that can provide a good starting point, but I believe you still learn more in person. You can see that athlete's persona before and after events and how they relate to coaches and teammates.  I actually like to see what their behavior is when the event did not turn out well.  You can learn a great deal in that situation.


MM: If a student-athlete is interested in being a part of your program, how early and how often should they try to contact you?

MG: An interest is always appreciated early in the process (sophomore or junior year), but a lot of physical changes take place from that point forward. So while I appreciate the contact information, I really wait until late in their junior year to see how that athlete is going develop physically as it continues to mature.


MM: Lastly, what is your favorite part of coaching 18-22 year old student athletes?

MG: This is a very interesting stage of a young person's development.  It isn't all about the technical aspects of coaching them in their event as much as it is watching and assisting them as they grow as a person. Having been at this profession for over thirty years, it is very rewarding to see athletes return to campus as professionals in their chosen field and as parents.



From everyone here at Michigan MileSplit, we thank Coach Guthrie for his time, and wish him the best of luck this season!