- Years at CLU9
- Alma MaterArizona ('03)
Matt Lea enters his 9th year as the Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field programs. After two years as an assistant coach at California Lutheran University, Lea took the reins of the program during the 2008-2009 season and led the men’s team to a top-10 finish and the women’s team to four top-20 finishes.
Lea and his coaching staff have recruited another strong batch of student-athletes this season and the chances of continuing to have another top-25 finish on the men’s and women’s side looks to be in good shape. Over the years of his head coaching career, the men have earned five All-American honors and the women have earned 15 All-American honors. During Lea’s tenure six Cal Lutheran student-athletes have won NCAA Individual National Championships.
For the past eight seasons, Lea’s squad took home two SCIAC conference championships and four top-20 national finishes on the women’s side while the men took home a top-10 national finish. Lea was named the USTFCCCA West Region Women’s Coach of the Year in 2014. Lea has overseen 47 SCIAC titles, 16 on the men’s side and 31 on the women’s, 198 SCIAC All-Conference honors, 67 men and 131 women, 37 Cal Lutheran school records, nine men and 28 women, six SCIAC Athletes of the Year, three men and three women, two USTFCCCA West Region Female Track Athletes of the Year, one USTFCCCA West Region Female Field Athlete of the Year, two USTFCCCA West Region Male Field Athletes of the Year, one USTFCCCA National Male Field Athlete of the Year, and one USTFCCCA National Male Athlete of the Year!
The 2016 season was another very successful one for Allie Hadley and Amanda Hamilton. Both earned All-America honors and Hadley brought home the Javelin National Championship. Hadley threw a stadium record in the Javelin at 48.21m (158’ 2”). Hamilton took home a 5th place finish in the triple jump, All-American Honors, and an 11th place finish in the long jump.
A native of Camarillo, Calif., Lea came to Cal Lutheran from UC Santa Barbara, where he was the assistant men’s and women’s sprints/jumps coach for two years and was part of the coaching staff that won UC Santa Barbara’s first ever women’s Big West Conference Championship. Lea has coached nine outdoor regional and national qualifiers, six Big West Conference Champions, 28 Big West All-Conference honors, and eight UC Santa Barbara School Records. Under Lea’s direction, Kylie McCuen earned Big West Conference Female Athlete of the Year in 2005.
In 2008, Lea was named to the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as a national facilitator. He helps younger student-athletes and administrators around the country develop better leadership abilities and skills that they can take back to their own institutions. In 2012, Lea was also named to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) Executive Committee.
An accomplished student-athlete in his own right, Lea was an NCAA All-American and in 2001 his 4x400 meter relay team finished fourth in the nation. Lea was also a four-time All-Pac 10 honoree in the 400-meters.
A Camarillo High School graduate, Lea went on to receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2003. In 2014, Lea completed his Master’s Degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University, Irvine.
He is married to Rebecca Lea, a former hurdler from the University of Arizona. They have a son, Jordan.