Schmidt named head coach of men's and women's cross country

TEXT: BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: Michael Schmidt, Head Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach
IMAGE: Center: Head shot of Michael Schmidt; upper left: Schmidt watching a racer, looking off to the left; lower right: Schmidt out running on a snowy cross country course

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University Department of Athletics has named Michael Schmidt as its new head coach of men's and women's cross country, Director of Athletics Lauren Haynie announced today.

"I am honored to be the next head cross-country coach for the Brandeis men and women," Schmidt said. "This is a program with a rich tradition of athletic success at a fantastic academic institution. I can't wait to get started to mentor the Judges and work alongside them. Thank you to Lauren Hayne and [associate athletic director] Lynne Dempsey for their support and for entrusting me to help guide the cross-country program in this transformational time."

Schmidt joins Brandeis after spending the last 11 years at Tufts University. He joined the Tufts staff in 2012 and moved into the role of the head distance coach in 2013. Since then, he served as interim head coach of men's cross country and track and field in 2015 and director of men's cross country from 2017 to 2021.  Since August 2021, Schmidt has served as associate head coach of men's and women's cross country and track and field for Jumbos. While at Tufts, Schmidt was chosen as United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches (USTFCCCA) New England Division III Assistant Coach of the Year three times and was part of the NESCAC Coaching Staff of the Year five times, including in 2022-23.

"We are thrilled to have Michael join our staff at Brandeis," Haynie said. "He brings a wide array of knowledge and has been integral to building a successful program at a like-minded institution. Throughout the interview process, he proved to be an excellent fit for our student-athletes capable of continuing the strong history of our distance program."

In his 11 years at Tufts, Schmidt coached the Tufts men's cross country team to one NESCAC title and seven NCAA championship berths. His teams also won five NESCAC track and field championships, including back-to-back titles in 2022 and 2023, plus two New England titles in 2017 and 2018. His teams have been named All-Academic teams 23 times and produced USTFCCCA 161 All-Academic individuals.

Other individual accolades won by Schmidt's student-athletes include five NCAA Division III championships, 34 All-America honors in track and field and five in cross country. Among Tufts' 13 middle-distance, distance and cross country events, 12 of the Jumbos' school records have been set under his guidance.

Schmidt is a 2012 graduate of Middlebury College with a B.A. in psychology and film and media culture. He was a six-time All-American and four-time All-Academic selection while running for the Panthers, who named their men's cross country team MVP award after him in 2011. Schmidt also received an M.A. in child study and human development from Tufts in 2017. Since 2019, he has served as a running coach at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, and was the co-founder of their Elite Road and Trail Running teams in 2021.

Schmidt will begin his role as head coach of men's and women's cross country on August 7. He will also serve as the distance coach for the men's and women's track and field programs. Brandeis will undergo a national search for a new head coach of men's and women's track and field.