On Saturday, Rutgers’ Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Bob Farrell announced the promotion of assistant coach Matthew Jelley to head cross country coach and associate head coach for track and field. His duties will focus on the men’s and women’s long distance runners for both programs. He replaces longtime coach Mike Mulqueen who recently retired after four decades at Rutgers.
“I’m very excited to have Matt take over both the men’s and women’s distance programs,” said Farrell, who AD Pat Hobbs elevated to his current post in 2019. “He did an excellent job this year with the women’s program with nearly everyone setting personal records while signing a talented recruiting class. Matt understands the great potential of these programs and the vast talent in New Jersey. He’s a great developer and a great recruiter. He’s been preparing for this moment his entire career. The future of both programs is very bright.”
Jelley became an assistant at Rutgers in 2020 and even though the cross country season was cancelled due to COVID-19, his influence was evident with the progress made by multiple distance runners this year. He helped Lou Mialhe have a standout outdoor season as she broke the school record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase three different times this past spring. Miahle also established new PR’s in both the 800 meter and 5,000 meter events.
His experience in the Big Ten was another reason that made Jelley such an obvious choice. Before coming to Rutgers, Jelley led the cross country program and long distance track and field runners at Maryland for seven years. Before leading the Terps, he was the head men’s and women’s cross country coach, as well as the assistant track and field coach at Temple for five years.
He was also named the 2001 New Jersey Cross Country Coach of the Year by the Newark Star-Ledger as head coach at Toms River North High School, where he began his career. Jelley also helped lead that program to two Group IV state titles as student-athlete a decade prior while earning all-state honors.
Throughout Jelley’s career, he was has been named Coach of the Year a total of 24 times and at least once per year according to the Rutgers press release.
Jelley is a Clemson graduate, where he was a distance runner on the Tigers’ cross country and track and field distance teams from 1993-1996. He previously had both academic and athletic success at Monmouth and Ocean County College before attending Clemson.
This appears to be another strong hire across the non-revenue and Olympic sports programs at Rutgers under the direction of athletic director Pat Hobbs.