Mick Byrne Photo Gallery
Director of Cross Country and Track & Field
Entering his first season of leading the combined Wisconsin cross country and track and field program, Mick Byrne has the keys to the one of the nation's proudest programs. The men's and women's cross country teams have captured seven national championships and seven individual national titles, while the men's and women's track and field squads have 12 NCAA trophy teams to their credit.
During his five seasons leading the men's cross country team at Wisconsin, the Badgers have continued their dominance with four NCAA championship podium finishes under Byrne's direction, including three straight top-three finishes from 2010-12. That includes the program's fifth national championship in 2011. Wisconsin also continued its conference-record winning streak with its 14th-consecutive Big Ten title in 2012, and also claimed a record 11th-straight NCAA Great Lakes Regional crown.
Spanning his time at Iona College and UW, Byrne has been named conference coach of the year a remarkable 22 consecutive seasons. In the last 10 years, Byrne's Iona and Wisconsin teams have finished on the NCAA podium eight times.
The Badgers' distance crew has been dominant, as well, as 10 Wisconsin athletes have been named All-America and combined for 17 honors during Byrne's five-year tenure. Only Oregon (12) has produced more All-Americans during the span. Wisconsin has won two Big Ten track titles while Byrne has been in Madison, including the 2012 outdoor championship held at McClimon Memorial Track and the 2013 indoor crown.
In 2012, the men's cross country squad claimed its fourth podium finish in Byrne's five seasons. Three runners earned All-America honors to power the Badgers to a runner-up finish at the 2012 NCAA Championship, with the senior trio ofMohammed Ahmed,Reed Connorand Maverick Darlingrecording top-12 finishes. Wisconsin extended its dominance in the Big Ten by winning a conference-record14th-consecutive championshipand then went on to extend another record streak by claiming its11th-straight NCAA Great Lakes Regional title.For his efforts, Byrne was named Big Ten and USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region coach of the year.
On the track in 2013, Austin Mudd set the school record in the indoor mile en route to a third-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships. Mudd also achieved All-America status outdoors with a fourth-place showing in the 1500 meters at the NCAA championships. Maverick Darling earned All-America honors in the indoor and outdoor 5000 meters, while winning Big Ten titles in the indoor 3000 meters and the outdoor 10,000 meters. Ahmed placed ninth in the 10,000 meters at the 2013 IAAF World Championships and was an indoor All-American. Connor was an All-American in the outdoor 5000 meters and Alex Brill won the 3000 steeplechase at the Big Ten championships.
The 2011-12 season was one to remember for Byrne, as the men's cross country program won its fifth national title. Ahmed, Elliot Krause, Ryan Collins and Connor earned All-America honors to give their coach his first national championship. For his efforts, Byrne was named the 2011 U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's National Coach of the Year along with being named the Big Ten and Great Lakes Region coach of the year.
Ahmed continued his brilliant season on the track as he set the Big Ten record in the 10,000 meters and won the Canadian national title en route to qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, where he placed 18th. He followed that performance with an eighth-place showing in the 10,000 meters at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
At the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Ahmed, Krause and Rob Finnerty all garnered All-America accolades.
The 2010 cross country season was the start of three straight podium finishes for the Badgers as the trio of Ahmed, Darling and Landon Peacock paced the Badgers to a third-place finish. During the 2011 track season, Darling and Zach Beth each earned indoor All-America honors.
Ahmed earned All-America honors in cross country in 2009 to pace the Badgers to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA championships. During the 2010 indoor campaign, Zach Mellon and Craig Miller earned All-America honors at the NCAA championship in the 800 and 3000 meters, respectively. Jack Bolas and Miller were fourth and seventh in the 1500 meters while Ahmed claimed fourth in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA outdoor championships
In Byrne's debut season, the Badgers scored a fourth-place finish at the NCAA men's cross country championships. Peacock enjoyed a breakout campaign, finishing first for the Badgers in all four of his meets. He vaulted to All-American and first-team All-Big Ten status for the first time in his career. Miller also had a stellar season, finishing second in the mile at the NCAA indoor meet, and ninth in the 1500 meters at the NCAA outdoor championship.
Coach of the Year Honors
While his teams have produced year after year on the course, Bryne has been recognized by his peers earning 32 coach of the year honors, including the 2011 National Coach of the Year award from the USTFCCCA.
Byrne has been honored as conference coach of the year an impressive 22 straight seasons, dating back to 1991. He earned 17 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference honors while at Iona, and in each of his first five seasons at Wisconsin.
He has also been honored with regional coach of the year accolades by the USTFCCCA nine times.
In addition to his team's strong showing in competition, Byrne has also proven his ability to develop student-athletes in the classroom. Since 2001, his cross country teams have combined to garner 115 academic all-conference honors. In 2013, Krause was named a Capital One Academic All-American for the third-consecutive season while being named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic squad for the fourth time in his career.
While Byrne was at Iona, the Gaels were named the All-Academic Men's Cross Country Team of the Year by the USTFCCCA in 2006 and 2007. His Badgers team achieved the same elite distinction in 2011.
Building a Dynasty
Prior to his arrival in Madison, Byrne spent 24 years in the Division I coaching ranks at Iona College. After taking over Iona's head coaching duties in 1989, he built the Gaels' men's cross country program into not only a conference powerhouse, but also a consistent national contender. The Gaels' tradition of excellence produced an astonishing 17 consecutive MAAC titles and 12 trips to the NCAA championship.
Over his final five seasons at Iona (2003-07), few schools experienced success on the level of Byrne's squad. With four NCAA podium finishes in five seasons, Iona registered the highest finish in school and conference history by placing second in the 2007 NCAA Championship. The Gaels also earned a third-place finish in 2006 as well as fourth-place showings in 2003 and 2005. The runner-up finish in 2007 marked the sixth-straight top-10 finish at NCAAs for Iona and its third-consecutive appearance on the podium.
Byrne, who was inducted into the Iona Gael Club Hall of Fame in 2008, was named the USTFCCCA Northeast Regional Coach of the Year in four of his final five seasons at Iona. He piloted the Gaels to NCAA Northeast Regional championships in each of those seasons. In all, he owns nine regional coach of the year honors.
Individual success has followed Byrne, as well. In his final season at Iona, he guided three runners to All-America status, while five earned all-region honors and five were named to the MAAC first and second teams. Under his tutelage at Iona, the Gaels captured 15 MAAC individual cross country titles, 13 men's cross country All-America honors, 15 track All-America honors, 29 IC4A champions and 163 All-East selections.
Byrne began his coaching career as an assistant at Iona in 1984 and held that post for five seasons until being promoted to head coach prior to the 1989 season. He also piloted both the men's and women's track and field teams and developed the Iona women's cross country program from its inception in 1991. In just over a decade, he catapulted the women's cross country team to three MAAC titles in 2004, 2006 and 2007. In 2006, his women's team also finished second at the Northeast Regional and 20th at the NCAA Championships.
A native of Dublin, Ireland, Byrne competed collegiately at Providence College and earned a bachelor's degree in international marketing. A four-year cross country standout for the Friars, he helped elevate the program to national prominence in distance running. Byrne still holds a school record as a member of Providence's 1977 four-mile relay team.
Byrne and his wife, Mary Jo, have two sons, Aidan and Cian.
Byrne's last 16 years have resulted in the following men's cross country finishes:
2012: Wisconsin - 2nd in NCAA; 1st in Region
2011: Wisconsin - 1st in NCAA; 1st in Region
2010: Wisconsin - 3rd in NCAA; 1st in Region
2009: Wisconsin - 7th in NCAA; 1st in Region
2008: Wisconsin - 4th in NCAA; 1st in Region
2007: Iona - 2nd in NCAA; 1st in Region
2006: Iona - 3rd in NCAA; 1st in Region
2005: Iona - 4th in NCAA; 1st in Region
2004: Iona - 7th in NCAA; 2nd in Region
2003: Iona - 4th in NCAA; 1st in Region
2002: Iona - 10th in NCAA; 1st in Region
2001: Iona - Did not compete in NCAA or Region*
2000: Iona - 15th in NCAA; 2nd in Region
1999: Iona - 9th in NCAA; 1st in Region
1998: Iona - 23rd in NCAA; 3rd in Region
1997: Iona - 13th in NCAA; 2nd in Region
*Did not compete, top three competitors were redshirted
NCAA PODIUM FINISHES: 8
Career Cross Country Numbers
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1, 2011
REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 11
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS: 22
REGIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS: 9
CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS: 22
NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR: 1
ALL-AMERICAN HONORS: 42
ALL-REGION HONORS: 141
ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTIONS: 139
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: 17
ACADEMIC ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS: 115
NCAA PODIUM FINISHES: 4
GREAT LAKES REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 5
BIG TEN CONFERENCE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: 5
GREAT LAKES REGIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS: 3
BIG TEN COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS: 5
NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR: 1
ALL-AMERICA HONORS: 14
ALL-GREAT LAKES REGIONS SELECTIONS: 27
ALL-BIG TEN SELECTIONS: 25
ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN SELECTIONS: 26
BIG TEN FRESHMEN OF THE YEAR: 2
NCAA PODIUM FINISHES: 4
NORTHEAST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 6
METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (MAAC) TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: 17
REGIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS: 6
NCAA DIVISION I ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM OF THE YEAR HONORS: 2
ALL-AMERICA HONORS: 28
MAAC INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS: 15
IC4A CHAMPIONS: 29
ALL-EAST SELECTIONS: 114
ACADEMIC ALL-MAAC SELECTIONS (since 2001): 89