Canterbury now track and cross-country coach for CMU

Colorado Mesa University made several coaching changes in its athletic department Wednesday.

One day after CMU announced the hiring of Ben Garcia as its softball coach, the cross-country and track programs shuffled coaches into different positions.

Longtime cross-country coach and full-time kinesiology professor Gig Leadbetter resigned, triggering some coaches shifting around in the two running programs.

Head men’s track and field coach Matt Canterbury will coach the men’s and women’s cross-country program and serve as the track and field head coach.

“Gig laid a great foundation,” Canterbury said. “I don’t want to make radical changes to the program. I’m hoping to recruit more quality kids. I think this will give us a seamless transition from cross-country to track.”

Canterbury served as the head men’s track and field coach since its inception three years ago.

“I’d like to compete at the national level. If we can compete at the conference level, we can compete at the national level. The top four teams in our conference finished in the top 25 in the nation in track. Our goal is to be in the top three in cross-country. We have a lot of good women coming in.

“With our facilities and CMU’s commitment to athletics, I believe we can compete with the best in the conference.”

Leadbetter resigned from his coaching position because of the demands of working with mid-distance and distance runners while teaching full-time. He coached the women’s cross-country program the past 16 years and the men’s program since its inception.

“It was hard to come from cross-country to track,” Canterbury said. “It was hard for him to have the time. Plus, the team has grown so much.”

The cross-country and track and field programs have close to 80 men and women’s athletes now, Canterbury said.

Canterbury will coach the mid-distance and distance runners for the track and field program, which includes cross-country runners. Two of the CMU runners, John Cusick and Shane Niksic, qualified for nationals in track. They both return and will compete in cross-country.

Katrice Thomas, who coached the women’s track and field team, will remain on the track and field coaching staff as an assistant and will focus on sprinters, including All-American Whitney Rowe.

Jason Brenton was promoted to associate head coach for the track and field program. The former part-time assistant coach works with the jumpers, including national qualifiers Bacall Sterling and Rowe.

Yasin Gulgan was added to the full-time coaching staff. The throws coach served as a part-time assistant last year.

Gulgan coached two years with Ego Spor Sports Club in Ankara, Turkey, where he met his wife, who served in the U.S. Air Force. He was the 2001 Turkish discus champion.

Former assistant coach Chad Barlow left the staff and moved to Fort Collins for a new job.

Canterbury expects to have all of the male athletes in cross-country and track back for the next season and all but two women.


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