Melissa Mangen was named Head Cross Country Coach on December 10, 2008 and is entering her fourth full year as the Lions' head coach.
2011 was another year of growth for the Lions’ men’s and women’s cross country programs. The men saw a pair of runs by racer Brian Haynes enter the program’s top-10 list, including an 8K mark of 27:15.05 (Fourth all-time) at the SSC Championships. Seven other top times fell in the 10K, including the program’s first six spots, all of which occurred in the team’s trip to the NCAA South Region run. The women also enjoyed their most successful year to date. Tereza Novotna asserted herself as one of the league’s top runner as she earned SSC Freshman of the Year and Runner of the Year honors. She broke each of the program’s top overall times in the 5K and 6K, while earning individual medalist honors at the conference run. In total, Mangen’s guidance helped Novotna to eight awards, including the program’s first NCAA Championship appearance. The 2011 squad populated the record book as three different runners earned a spot in the record books.
The 2010 season for both the men's and women's cross country teams was a historic one. On the men's side, six individuals made their way on to the top-10 all-time list in the 8K, five of which happened at the SSC Championships. In addition, the men also recorded their highest team finish in team history with a second place showing at the flrunners.com Meet. It was just as successful on the women's side as four women cracked all-time 5K list. Andrea Maxwell recorded the fastest 5K time in Saint Leo history as she recorded a time of 19:11.38. Maxwell also recorded the highest finish at the SSC Championships by any Saint Leo runner as she finished seventh and was named to the All-Championship team. The women also recorded a season-best thrid-place finish at the flrunners.com Meet.
2009 was a fantastic season for the Lions, as both the men's and women's teams broke a combined six school records, including five by the women. Mangen's groups also excelled in the classroom once again as both teams were named to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic list. A trio of women runners also earned All-Academic honors, as Luthman, Browne, and Egan earned GPA's over 3.25 for the year.
An assistant coach at Saint Leo for a year prior to being elevated to the head position, Mangen began the Lions' turnaround as they posted the best Sunshine State Conference finish in the program's history. Setting a school records in 2008, the Lions posted seven top-10 performances in Saint Leo history. Continuing a tradition of excellent academics under Mangen's guidance, the women's cross country team posted the highest GPA in the Department of Athletics in 2008.
Mangen came to Saint Leo after a two-year stint as assistant coach at the University of South Florida where she worked with both the Bulls' Cross Country and Track & Field Teams. During her time at the Division I school in Tampa, Fla., she helped coach nine USF runners to the Big East All-Conference Team while 11 posted all-time top performances. With her assistance, South Florida runners posted the top team GPA in Division I.
Her first crack at coaching came in 2005 when she was named assistant coach at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Mich. For two seasons, Mangen help pilot a program that advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championships, ultimately posting a fifth-place finish. She coached an All-American, three NCAA Qualifiers and 32 All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Performers and also had a GLIAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year while working for the Cardinals.
Mangen is a native of Portland, Michigan and earned her Master of Education degree from Saginaw Valley State in 2008. She earned her Bachelor of Science, Exercise Science and Psychology from Central Michigan University in 2005 where she was also a seven-time Mid American All-Conference honoree. Named the Chippewa's Track & Field Rookie of the Year in 2000, Mangen was also a four-time team champion and currently ranks in the top five all-time in best times for the indoor mile and 3000 meter races at Central Michigan.
Mangen serves in dual roles at Saint Leo as she is also an academic advisor for the school's Center for Online Learning located in Dade City, Fla.
Mangen currently resides in Wesley Chapel, Fla. with her husband, Paul, their son, Jack, and their daughter, Reese.