Tony Filipek Hired as Head Cross Country/Track & Field Coach

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Lake Superior State University Athletic Department has hired Tony Filipek as Head Cross Country/Track & Field Coach, as announced by Dr. Dave Diles, Director of Athletics. Filipek will be leading both the men’s and women’s programs at LSSU. 

“Tony Filipek is uniquely qualified to substantially advance our cross country and track and field programs,” said Diles. “He brings exceptional institutional knowledge, experience in the GLIAC and he articulated a great vision for our programs.  I believe that he will be a transformative coach for these programs.”

Filipek joins the Lakers after spending over two years with the Western Michigan Broncos Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field programs, specializing in distance races. While at Western Michigan, Filipek served as an assistant coach as he helped guide the Broncos in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Among his coaching accomplishments, Filipek led Juliane Sormain to a seventh place finish at the 2020 MAC Indoor Track & Field Championships along with a 2:11 personal record time in prelims. During the 2020 cross country season, Filipek guided Rebecca McNamee to Second Team All-MAC honors as she placed eighth in the conference championships. Filipek coached McNamee to a seventh place finish at the 2021 Indoor MAC Track & Field Championships in the mile run (4:56) and a sixth place finish in the 800 meter race (2:13) as she scored in both events for the Broncos. At the 2021 MAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Filipek led Brittney Hall to score for the first time in her collegiate career as she posted a third place finish in the 5,000 meter distance (16:45) and a fourth place finish in the 10,000 meter distance (34:55). Hall’s 10,000 meter time stands as the second fastest in Western Michigan history. 

Filipek’s student-athletes at Western Michigan also had success academically during his tenure with 15 cross country student-athletes receiving All-MAC Academic recognition and 29 track & field student-athletes receiving All-MAC Academic honors. In addition, senior distance runner Rebecca McNamee was named a MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete in 2021. 

“I’m extremely excited to implement new components into the existing men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs to enhance our competitiveness as a team while increasing the visibility of our programs locally, regionally, and nationally,” said Filipek. “I would like to thank Dr. Diles for the support of the visions I have to create a student athlete experience that embodies shared responsibilities and values that will promote success in all areas of life.  I look forward to leading the Lakers into a new era.  It’s time to get to work!”

Prior to Western Michigan, Filipek served as a volunteer assistant coach for the men’s and women’s distance runners at Lake Superior State. Filipek worked under previous head coach Rob Gallinger during the 2018-19 season. Filipek was a member of the coaching staff when David Mitter became the first Laker cross country runner to qualify for nationals in 25 years. 

From March to July 2018, Filipek served as the head men’s cross country and track & field coach at Cleary University in Howell, Mich. Prior to his first head coaching position, Filipek worked as an assistant coach at Lansing Community College and a volunteer assistant at Oakland University. 

At Lansing Community College, Filipek coached cross country and track athletes to nine NJCAA All-American Awards as well as an 8th place finish at the NJCAA Cross Country Nationals in 2017 and a 19th place finish at the NJCAA Men’s Track & Field Nationals in 2018. 

Filipek’s longest coaching stop was at his alma mater, Saginaw Valley State. He spent three years as an assistant coach and recruiting/travel coordinator from 2011-14, helping produce 11 Division II All-Americans and 19 NCAA Division II National Qualifiers. Filipek helped coach the women’s cross country team to three consecutive appearances at the NCAA National Championships placing 13th, 12th and 11th, for their best finishes in program history. During his tenure at SVSU, he coached the GLIAC Women’s Freshman Athlete of the Year for the outdoor season in 2013 and he coached the SVSU Ryder Woman Athlete of the Year in both 2012 and 2014.

As a student-athlete at Saginaw Valley State, Filipek was a three-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) champion in the 800-meter run and also was a member of SVSU’s distance medley relay championship team. Filipek was an NCAA Division II All-American on two occasions for his performance in the 800 meter distance and holds the school record at SVSU in both the indoor and outdoor 800 meter distance. In 2010, Filipek was named the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Track Athlete of the Year. 

After graduating from college, Filipek ran semi professionally. He placed ninth overall at the 2013 USA Road Mile Championship and fourth overall at the USA Track & Field 50 Mile Road Championships in 2018.  

Filipek graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in December 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and completed his master’s degree in kinesiology from Wayne State University in May 2015.

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