St. Mary's City, Md. – St. Mary's College of Maryland Associate Director for Internal Operations Jim Cranmer announced Monday the hiring of Michael Gentile as the next head coach of the St. Mary's men's and women's cross country programs. Gentile, who will also serve as the assistant director for the Michael P. O'Brien Athletics & Recreation Center (MPOBARC), will begin his duties on Monday, August 6.
Gentile brings 15 years of coaching experience to St. Mary's, including four years as an assistant coach at Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) rival, York College of Pennsylvania, and becomes the programs' first full-time head coach.
"We would like to welcome Michael to the Seahawk Family. His experience and passion for student-athletes stood out among a talented pool of candidates. I want to thank the search committee and the student-athletes involved in the search process for their time and for being thorough and professional throughout the process," stated Cranmer.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native inherits cross country programs which produced a combined 126 CAC All-Academic Team selections and six CAC Players of the Week during Tom Fisher's seven-year tenure at the helm of the Seahawks. In addition, the programs combined for 10 United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team awards.
Fisher stepped down as the Seahawk cross country head coach at the end of the 2017-18 academic year but will remain on staff at St. Mary's as the director of the MPOBARC.
Cranmer added, "Finally, I wanted to recognize and thank Tom Fisher for the job he has done as our head cross country coach and as the MPOBARC Director. He started the program nine years ago, serving as the head coach for seven of those years. He has done a good job fulfilling both roles, but he came to the realization that he could not give both jobs the attention they deserve. We thank Tom for the foundation he put in place and we look forward to Michael's leadership and contributions to the programs.
In 2017, Gentile served as the head coach for the men's and women's cross country teams at the University of Pittsburgh Greensburg before returning to York to lead the middle distance, sprints, and jumps corps for the 2018 outdoor track & field season.
Gentile expressed, "I am so very grateful for the opportunity to head the St. Mary's cross country program. It has been a dream of mine to become a collegiate head coach and I am thankful for everyone at St. Mary's for providing me this opportunity. I have to thank my family for being so supportive of my endeavor. I would like to thank Tom Fisher for all the hard work that he has put into the program and for all of his help in getting me organized for the beginning of the season. I look forward to working with him and appreciate having him around as a sounding board. I must also thank Coach LoBianco [at York] for allowing me the opportunities that have led me here."
At YCP, he helped the women to a pair of CAC championship titles in 2016 and 2017 while the men posted back-to-back second-place finishes the last two seasons. Additionally, the York men qualified as a team for the NCAA Division III Championships in 2017. Gentile coached 78 All-CAC selections, 19 All-Mideast Region athletes, and five NCAA individual qualifiers during his time at York.
He was a former assistant coach for cross country and track & field at Chestnut Hill College (2013-14) before starting at York, leading the men to the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference championship title. Prior to Chestnut Hill, Gentile spent 10 years as the head coach for the Homer-Center High School boys and girls cross country and track & field teams in Homer City, Pennsylvania.
He mentored 77 conference champions, 58 state finalists, 22 state medalists, 15 state champions, four New Balance All-Americans, and a pair of Pen Relay Championship of America winners at Homer-Center while creating and developing the indoor track program.
Gentile graduated from Westminster (Pa.) College in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in communications. He also earned his certificate in elementary and special education from Saint Francis University of Pennsylvania in 2002.
"I have heard countless complimentary things about the school, staff and student-athletes at St. Mary's, which makes me even more eager to get started and involved with the campus community. I am very pleased to be able to continue coaching in the CAC. This is such a competitive and challenging conference. You have to be on top of your game to hope to be competitive with so many nationally-ranked teams and competitors in this conference. I look forward to the challenge and I am eager to get to know the team and help them progress as student-athletes and as individuals who will go on to impact the communities in which they live in," continued Gentile.
The 2018 men's and women's cross country seasons begin Saturday, August 18 with preseason and the first official meet is the Salisbury University Sea Gull Opener on Saturday, September 1.