A member of the DePaul athletics community for over four decades, Pat Savage completed his fourth season as head coach for the DePaul men's and women's cross country and track and field programs in 2009-10. Entering the 2010-11 season, Savage will handle the head coaching duties for the cross country teams and serve as an assistant coach with the track and field programs. The 2010-11 campaign will be his sixth on the cross country and track and field coaching staffs.
Since the beginning, Savage has always put an emphasis on the complete student-athlete, stressing academics as well as athletics. In his first three years as head coach, over 140 of his competitors earned BIG EAST Conference All-Academic Team honors. On the national level, Melissa Fraser, Mary Cate Quiett and Brad Millar were honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as All-Academic Team members. Both Quiett and Millar earned the honor during the 2007-08 season as well. Additionally, Millar was the first student-athlete since the 1995-96 season to be named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District team.
At the team level, both the men's and women's track and field and cross country squads were named the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. While it was a first for the track and field teams, it was the third consecutive year cross country was put on the prestigious list. Men's track and field made a bold statement in its first appearance on the list, posting the highest team-grade point average in the entire country. Within the BIG EAST, both cross country teams and the men's indoor and outdoor squads boasted the highest GPA compared to their conference counterparts.
On the course the men's cross country team reached as high No. 14 in the USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Rankings, while then-freshman Matthew Graham became the program's first BIG EAST Player of the Week.
2008-09 marked the second year in a row a Blue Demon competed at the NCAA National Outdoor Championships. Two-time BIG EAST hammer throw champion Millar made his NCAA Nationals debut after placing fourth to earn the automatic bid. The previous season, then-freshman Melissa Fraser advanced to the NCAA Championships in the javelin throw.
In addition to Millar and Fraser, Joe Strawder, Alanna Kovacs and Quiett qualified for the 2009 Mideast Regional Championship. While Millar placed fourth in the hammer throw, Kovacs also recorded a top-ten finish, placing seventh in the javelin throw competition.
The 2006-07 campaign saw the program make vast improvements in Savage's first season as head coach. DePaul's first individual BIG EAST Conference Champion was crowned when Millar won the hammer throw for the first time at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships. Four Blue Demons competed in the NCAA Outdoor Midwest Regional Championships and 10 new DePaul records were set between the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. In back-to-back weeks during the outdoor season, the Blue Demons swept the team titles at the Chicagoland Championships and the Elmhurst Invitational, respectively.
Success continued during Savage's second year at the helm of the program in 2007-08. Thirteen school records, a program high, were broken over the course of the indoor and outdoor season. Two more BIG EAST champions were crowned when Millar defended his hammer title, and Fraser won the javelin throw at the Outdoor Conference Championships. Fraser's appearance at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships was the first time a female student-athlete qualified since 2004 when Erin Moffett ran the 10,000m, and a first during the Savage era.
Savage has an extensive coaching background in the Chicagoland area, serving as the head cross country and track coach at DePaul Academy (1966-68), St. George High School in Evanston (1968-69) and on the Niles West High School staff in Skokie from 1969-2002. Pat stayed on to coach with his son, Danny Savage, until 2005. He was the head cross country coach during his entire tenure and spent six of those years on the staff as the head track and field coach in the 1980's. He also coached the cross country, track and marathon teams at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines from 1971-2003. Since 1980, he has served as the director and head coach of the Niles West/Oakton Runner's Club. Though he still serves as director, his wife, Melissa, assumed coaching responsibilities in 2007.
Savage's teams have also experienced tremendous success during his career as he has tutored 39 National Junior College All-Americans and four NJCAA national champions. In 2002 his team won the NJCAA National Championship in the marathon. Along with his national success, Savage guided over 200 All-State athletes and 19 Skyway Conference cross country champions while his teams have won eight NJCAA regional titles. Savage's runners club also won 17 Chicago Area Runner's Association team titles.
Savage has been an eight-time NJCAA Region IV Coach of the Year and was elected to the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 1989. He has also been named St. Mel's High School Man of the Year and was inducted into DePaul's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. He has served as the President of the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association, the Illinois Community College Track and Cross Country Coaches Association and the Chicago Area Runners Association. In 1995, the Niles West Indian Cross Country Invitational was renamed the Patrick J. Savage Invitational. During the 1980's and 1990's it was the largest high school- sponsored cross country meet in the nation, reaching a peak of 73 boys teams and 69 girls squads.
In addition to coaching, Savage remains active in the Chicagoland running community. He served as the head race referee for the 2006 and 2007 Chicago Marathon, and head men's referee in 2008. This year, he serves as a Chairman of the Games Committee and will be the course referee.
An outstanding collegiate runner, Savage was a two-time captain (junior and senior seasons) and MVP of both the Blue Demon track and cross country teams during his junior year and holds a pair of Business degrees from DePaul. Although far removed from collegiate completion, he remains an active runner along with his wife Melissa, and recently celebrated his 50th year as a member of the running community.
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