Matt Gittermann returns for his eighth year after joining UMBC in 2008 as the head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach in charge of distance events. Gittermann previously served as the cross country and track and field coach at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City, Md., since August 2004. Six of Gittermann’s UMBC student-athletes have won individual America East titles, 26 individuals and nine relay teams qualified for the IC4A/ECAC Championships, two individuals have qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds and 13 have broken school records.
Academically, Gittermann’s cross country teams have led the university on numerous occasions in Team GPA, placed eleven members on All-America East Academic Teams, and his women’s team received “Special National Recognition” for Women’s Team APR from the NCAA in 2012.
Last season, the men's team finished in third place at the America East Championships, with Hassan Omar placing fifth overall to earn All-Conference honors. Omar also was named to the All-Academic team.
In 2013, Gittermann brought the America East Title back to UMBC, the first for the men's squad since 2005. Hassan Omar earned a third place finish to pace the Retrievers, while Andrew Smith earned a tenth place finish. UMBC edged out host Binghamton to take the crown. The win also gave Gittermann another honor, as his staff was named 2013 America East Coaching Staff of the Year.
In 2012, Gittermann’s men’s and women’s cross country teams had some of their strongest years in the recent history of UMBC. The men’s team finished third in the conference cross country championships, the second-highest placing for them since entering the America East. They were led by All-Conference runner Brandan McGee who finished seventh overall and was quickly followed by the rest of the varsity squad which placed seven runners in the top 26. In addition, the men’s team blitzed the record books running a majority of the Top 10 fastest times in school history in cross country across all distances. Indoor track saw Andrew Smith win the 800 meter dash and anchor the Conference winning 4x800 meter relay while the women would shatter the Distance Medley Relay school record. At the Outdoor Conference Championship Hassan Omar won the 10,000 meters, Andrew Keresztes won the 800 meters, and Jake Albino would break the school record in the 1,500 meters. Omar and Albino would go on to win All-IC4A honors at the IC4A Championships. Gittermann was also honored as part of the America East Women’s Indoor and Men’s Outdoor Coaching Staff of the Year.
In 2011, the men’s cross country team built on the success of the previous year and spent most of the season ranked in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The indoor track season saw three athletes qualify in the 800 meters for the IC4A Championships. Outdoors brought with it a new school record in the women’s steeplechase by Keri Wilson, in addition to a conference championship and new school record in the men’s steeplechase by Brandan McGee. McGee would then advance to the NCAA Preliminary rounds in the steeple chase, the first distance runner since 2008 to advance.
In his third season, the cross country teams rebounded after a tough second year to move up in conference standings, led by the men’s fifth-place finish at the conference meet and a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region meet. In the track seasons, Gittermann’s teams began to reset the record books. During the indoor track season, his distance medley relay team of Michael Christmas, Andrew Smith, Roy Jones, and Chris Snyder finished second at the conference meet, but shattered the old school record to the tune of 9:49. Christmas would also take over control of the 800-meter school record during the indoor and outdoor seasons, while Snyder would break the record in the outdoor 3,000 meters. Sara Parkinson would add the 3,000-meter school record to her list of accomplishments during the indoor season, and would break the 1,500-meter, 3,000-meter, and 5,000-meter records during the outdoor campaign.
In 2009, Gittermann’s second season, Sara Parkinson earned All-Conference honors for the second consecutive season at the America East Conference Cross Country Championships and was named to the Academic All-District II First Team. Her performances helped lead the women’s cross country team to their first team ranking in the Mid-Atlantic polls in quite some time. She would continue her strong year into indoor where she would break the school record in the 5,000-meters en route to a conference championship title.
In his first season at UMBC, Gittermann’s men’s team won the Towson Invite in only his third meet at the helm, which in turn led to a UMBC’s entrance into the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Rankings. Gittermann finished out the season producing two America East All-Conference honorees in Sara Parkinson and Anthony Kelhower as the men finished fifth and the women eighth at the America East Conference Championship meet.
All four of his boys’ cross country teams at Mount Hebron (2A/3A) had finished among the top eight in the state championships, peaking with a fourth-place finish in 2007. The Mount Hebron girls’ program also rose to prominence, finishing third at the state championships in 2007. The track programs were also extremely strong under Gittermann’s leadership. His 2005 boys’ indoor team and 2007 girls’ outdoor squad both finished as runners-up at the state championships. Overall, Mount Hebron broke more than 80 school records, produced 15 individual state champions and one All-American during Gittermann’s tenure.
Gittermann started his coaching career as head track and field coach at neighboring Hammond High School in the fall of 2003. The January 2003 graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, earned four letters in cross country and three in track and field.
The Lewiston, N.Y., native earned his bachelor’s degree in middle childhood education from Baldwin-Wallace and completed his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with administrative focus from McDaniel College in May 2008.
Gittermann currently teaches science in the Howard County Public School System. He has a USATF Level II Certification in sprints, hurdles, relays and endurance. Additionally, he was one of 20 collegiate and high school coaches selected to attend the USATF/United States Olympic Committee Emerging Elite Endurance Coaching Clinic at the Olympic Training Facility at Chula Vista, Calif.
Gittermann resides in Columbia, Md. with his wife, Megan, and their daughters, Ryleigh and McKena.