Minnesota creates program director position, appoints Bingle

Matt Bingle became the first-ever director of track and field and cross country.

Derek Wetmore

One of the more successful womenâÄôs sports programs on campus just added some stability.

WomenâÄôs track and field coach Matt Bingle  has been promoted to program director âÄî the first in Minnesota history and a position they created for him.

HeâÄôll oversee his current team as well as the cross country program, effective immediately, according to athletics director Joel Maturi .

âÄúWhile this is primarily a shift in title, the success of the womenâÄôs track and field and cross country programs during MattâÄôs tenure here at the University of Minnesota was a huge factor in this change,âÄù Maturi said in a release announcing the promotion Wednesday.

Bingle took over the track and field team in the spring of 2007 and was recently extended. Unlike menâÄôs hockey coach Don Lucia,  BingleâÄôs contract wasnâÄôt about to expire, so he was already going to be here.

After he experienced early success at Minnesota, he was a hot coaching commodity in the track and field community, so the Gophers locked him up.

Maturi called it a shift in title, hinting his immediate role likely wonâÄôt significantly change.

As director of both programs, he would be allowed to hire any coach he chooses to run the programs.

Should another athletic director take over when MaturiâÄôs contract expires next spring, Bingle could retain the staff thatâÄôs been working together for a number of years âÄî Gary Wilson, Lynne Anderson, Caroline White and Sarah Hesser.

Previously, with no program director in place, those decisions would have been up to the athletic director.

âÄúThis is truly an exciting day for our track and field and cross country programs,âÄù Bingle said in the release. âÄúWhatâÄôs great for the program is that for years to come there will be stability in the coaching staff. What we have going right now is working. And any time you can have a great staff stay together, the sky is the limit.âÄù

Bingle thanked his wife and family, Maturi and Wilson for being one of his coaching mentors in the release.

âÄúWe feel this is the right time to make this next transition as a program,âÄù Wilson said in the release. âÄúWhile I will still retain head coaching responsibilities for cross country, Matt will oversee the entire program.

âÄúCross country and track at the college level are so intertwined that it only makes sense to have a director that can maintain the success of both programs far in to the future,âÄù Wilson said.

The womenâÄôs track and field team is the largest in Division I in the country.

Bingle is in his ninth year with Minnesota and will begin his fifth as head coach in January.