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Matthew Reneker Selected MVP Award Recipient

MC head cross country and track and field coach Matthew Reneker and President Blake Thompson
MC head cross country and track and field coach Matthew Reneker and President Blake Thompson

Mississippi College head cross country and track and field coach Matthew Reneker spends a lot of time on the sidelines cheering on his student-athletes, but he recently garnered an accolade of his own: President Blake Thompson’s monthly MVP award.

Michael Wright says that the recognition is well-deserved, as Reneker has attracted 66 athletes to make their mark along Choctaw Trails.

“He’s building two powerhouse programs with track and field and cross-country, and I’m sure national championships are right around the corner,” Wright predicted. “One thing he’s already succeeded at is getting incredible, mission-fit students to say ‘yes’ to MC, and MC is better for it.”

Hand-picking “mission-fit” students is a calling for Reneker, who spent 10 years coaching at the high school level and working in church ministry before feeling called to coach at a Christian university.

Mississippi College’s search for a track coach coincided with this calling, and Reneker says that the choice to move from Ohio to Mississippi was an easy one.

“When I came for my interview in December of 2015, I knew that this was the place for my wife and me,” the Walsh University graduate recalled.

Now entering his sixth season with Choctaw athletics, Reneker acknowledges that a “day in the life” as a collegiate coach is long but rewarding.

“I arrive at MC for long-distance practice at 5:00 a.m., do compliance paperwork, go home to let my dogs out, and conclude with sprinters’ practice at 5 p.m.”

He sees each early-morning and late-afternoon practice as an opportunity to develop his student-athletes into better players and people.

“I believe that, as a coach, I have the honor of overseeing another human being during an influential time in their life,” Reneker states. “I am a mentor of movement, an advocate of advancement, and a catalyst of change.”

The advancement that Reneker seeks was evident in the Choctaws’ strong showing at the Gulf-South Conference Championships. Reneker helped lead the Choctaws to the GSC Indoor Championship in his first season at the helm of the program. MC had six event championships, 22 All-GSC honors, and set two meet records, including three GSC Championship award honorees. His athletes have 19 top-five regionally ranked marks. Reneker was named the USTFCCCA South Regional Men’s Coach of the Year.

For Reneker, such success is all part of a day’s work—and part of his ultimate plan to create a flourishing team.

“I’m responsible for engineering the vision of a successful future,” he concludes. “The mission for NCAA Division II is ‘life in balance,’ and I truly believe that MC is a place that students can be afforded the resources to grow academically, spiritually, and athletically. I cannot think of a better place to spend my life’s work than MC.”