FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Fort Wayne’s longest tenured head coach, Mike Fruchey, has stepped down as head coach of the Mastodon cross country program. Fruchey coached the cross country teams for 18 seasons. He also helped found the women’s track and field programs at Fort Wayne, serving as their head coach since 2000.
He guided the 2007 women’s cross country team to a Summit League title, the first Summit League Championship in any sport for the ‘Dons. He was named Summit League Coach of the Year in the process. In 2008 Crystal Martinez qualified for cross country nationals. His student-athletes combined to earn 17 Summit League Runner of the Week awards.
“By far, my proudest moment was winning the 2007 Summit League title,” Fruchey said. “Our team was not picked to finish in the top four. The ladies raced with confidence and finished as co-champions, where three teams were only separated by a single point. After the finish, the scoring was an error as one of our runner’s chips was not picked up at the finish. It was about an hour later, and video analysis, that we found out that we had won. The ladies were so happy and deservedly so.”
On the track and field side, the ‘Dons earned 14 Indoor and 12 Outdoor All-Summit League honors. Crystal Martinez and Crystina Martinez were named USTFCCCA Indoor and Outdoor Academic All-Americans in 2008. Crystal Martinez was a NCAA First Round qualifier in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 2008 and 2009. Crystina Martinez qualified for the NCAA First Round in the same event in 2008. In 2013, Theresa McHugh went in the javelin and Rachel Dincoff earned a spot in the shot put.
“I will remember all of the great people that I coached with and against, the wonderful athletic staff and also all of the student-athletes that I was able to impact through athletics,” Fruchey added. “I will also remember all of the long trips across the country, from California to New York and many places in between. As I talk with alumni, these long trips were often their favorite memories of the team.”
Fruchey will stay on as a consultant to the program through January and assist with Fort Wayne’s home meet on Jan. 20. Ashley Botham was named the Fort Wayne women’s track and field coach in December and will now also oversee the cross country programs.
“I really appreciate the opportunity that the university gave me to impact student-athlete’s lives for 18 years,” Fruchey continued. “I have enjoyed the mentoring and collaboration in working with so many athletes to help them reach their life goals. I have written many letters of recommendation for so many of our alumni, who are impacting our world and will continue to do so. I’m excited to leave the program in great hands with Coach Botham and will continue to help in any way possible.”
Fruchey will continue to serve as a professor in the engineering department at IPFW.
“Mike Fruchey has touched the lives of countless student-athletes and has left an indelible legacy in the department, “Athletic Director Kelley Hartley Hutton said. “Mike will be a Mastodon for life.”