Men's Cross Country | 12/1/2017 1:32:00 PM
FAIRFAX, Va. – A familiar face is returning to the George Mason men's and women's cross country and track and field coaching staff.
Tony Mihalich has been hired as an assistant cross country and track coach, head coach Andrew Gerard announced on Thursday. Mihalich spent the last four cross country seasons at Iona but before that he served as a volunteer assistant coach at Mason from 2012-14, working with middle distance, distance and cross country athletes.
"Very excited to bring him back," Gerard said. "He was a great fit when he was here before. I think his time away at Iona he has gained a lot of experience with high-level kids. I think it has been great for him. He has landed a number of very good international recruits. I think that aspect of what he has learned, being away, the international connections, I think are going to prove invaluable for us in terms of the recruiting process.
"From his time here, we know he is really enthusiastic, fully invested in the track and field lifestyle. Really energetic with all the event groups. I think that was one of the things that was appealing was that he really connects well with not just the athletes he works with but with the throwers and jumpers and the pole vaulters. He is very outgoing in that respect."
At Mason, Mihalich helped the women's track and field team win both the indoor and outdoor Atlantic 10 titles in 2014. He also assisted the men's team in earning A-10 runner-up finishes in both indoor and outdoor that year.
He served on a staff that saw current volunteer assistant coach Bethany Sachtleben win her first individual conference championship in George Mason's inaugural cross country season in the Atlantic 10 in 2014. He also aided in the success of Jennifer Nakamura, who set the Mason school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase three consecutive times during the 2014 outdoor season.
"I really want to thank Coach Gerard, (Athletic Director) Brad Edwards and (Deputy Athletic Director) Kevin McNamee for the opportunity to come back home and make a huge difference," Mihalich said. "I'm really excited. I already knew what a special place George Mason was. It was going to take a really special place for me to leave somewhere like Iona and George Mason is that. It already means so much to me that I was part of the community before and I'm excited to head back. Having family that went there and already added to what George Mason is was not only an attractive thing but a motivation."
Mihalich is married to a Mason grad, Maddie Mihalich. Maddie's parents, Brion and Erin (Cloyd), played basketball at Mason and Brion is the owner of Brion's Grille in Fairfax.
Mihalich, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., contributed to a successful Iona program. During his tenure, the Gaels' men's cross country program won four MAAC cross country championships, adding to their impressive streak of 27 straight conference titles. The women won three MAAC championships during Mihalich's time at Iona, winning back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.
This past fall, the men finished 12th at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championship. Seniors Gilbert Kirui and Johannes Motschmann earned All-America status by finishing in the top 40, both running personal bests at the NCAA Championship. In 2016, Mihalich also partook in the growth of Tara Jameson, who earned All-American recognition with her seventh place finish in the 10,000K race at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
During Mihalich's first fall campaign with the Gaels in 2014, junior Kate Avery won the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championship with a first-place time of 19:31.6. He also helped the women's team to its first ever NCAA Northeast Regional Championship. That same year, the men's cross country team finished eighth at the NCAA Championship and took third in the Northeast Regional. The men's team captured its 24th straight MAAC Championship while the women won its 10th straight.
Prior to his first Mason stint, Mihalich served as graduate assistant coach at Temple University from 2010-12. Under Mihalich's tutelage, Travis Mahoney earned the school's first All-America honor in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Mihalich also worked with the recruiting and operations processes of the program, while earning a master's degree in sport and recreation management.
Mihalich earned his bachelor's degree in Spanish from John Carroll University and is a USATF Level I Certified Coach. His father, Joe, is the head men's basketball coach at Hofstra.