On Tuesday, Marquette announced a slight reorganization of the track and field and cross country teams. Bert Rogers has been promoted from head track and field coach to Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, while Sean Birren has been elevated from interim head coach of the MI cross country teams to full time head coach.
Rogers has been the top man for all of MU’s track and field teams — men’s and women’s, both indoor and outdoor — for the past 13 years, and will now oversee both track & field and cross country. Birren will report to Rogers as a result, but ultimately, this isn’t much of a change. By the pure nature of cross country and track & field at the collegiate level, the head cross country coach was by default an assistant coach for the track & field team. The XC coach was the T&F assistant in charge of the distance runners, so whoever MU’s cross country coach was already had to report to the head track & field coach. This is, to a certain extent, merely a formality in the way things actually worked. I presume there’s a little bit of a pay bump involved for both men, so that’s never a bad thing.
Here’s Rogers on his promotion:
“I am honored and excited to take on this new role overseeing both track and field and cross country,” Rogers said. “This program has a rich tradition and history that I am proud to oversee and build upon. I am excited to continue to work with Coach Koenning, Coach Bellford, the rest of our tremendous staff and volunteers. I wholeheartedly welcome Coach Birren as our new head cross country coach and look forward to building upon the success of the MU track and field and cross country legacy.”
Marquette has won six Big East championships during Rogers’ time at Marquette, with the most recent coming from the men’s outdoor team in 2018. Over the past several years, both the men and the women have been regularly competitive for the top spot in the conference as well as regularly sending athletes to the NCAA regionals for both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Birren has been at Marquette since 2012 when he joined the track & field staff as a volunteer assistant for the distance runners. Back in August, Birren was promoted to interim head cross country coach following Mike Nelson’s departure for the same job title at Monmouth that Rogers now holds at Marquette. The argument can be made that Birren promptly led the XC team to one of if not its best season as a member of the Big East, as they had four all-Big East honorees for the first time in program history. The men’s team tied their best finish ever at the Big East championships in fourth place and a program best 99 points.
Here’s Birren on his new full-time contracted job:
“It’s an honor to be entrusted to lead the cross country and distance programs into the future with Bert and the rest of the staff at MU,” Birren said. “Whether we are going through good times or rough patches, it’s been incredible to see our department come together with the ultimate goal of caring for the student-athletes. I’m so excited to see where the road ahead leads, and I’m blessed to be a part of it all.”
Rogers and Birren will have their athletes back in action on Saturday, when they take part in the John Tierney Invitational hosted by UW-Milwaukee. If you find yourself with some free time, head over to the Klotsche Center on UWM’s campus and cheer on the Golden Eagles.