MILWAUKEE – After nearly 30 years and an unprecedented amount of success, Milwaukee men’s and women’s track & field and cross country head coach Pete Corfeld announced his retirement Monday afternoon.

Corfeld – a native of Milwaukee – closes out his remarkable career with 51 total conference championships, being named league coach of the year an incredible 51 times.

“I am forever grateful to have been named head coach at UWM in 1989 by (then Director of Athletics) Bud Haidet,” Corfeld said. “This was and continues to be a dream job for a Milwaukee native and alum. I also would like to thank (current Director of Athletics) Amanda Braun for her support over these last five years of working together.

“Besides the athletic accolades that our teams and outstanding staff achieved over the past 29 years, I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to affect so many young people’s lives. Now, I'm looking forward to spending quality time with my wife of 25 years, Linda. I can't wait to see and support all the Panther teams in the seasons to come, especially the cross country and track & field teams!”

“Pete has been an incredible leader and coach for our athletic department and university for the last 29 years. He has impacted the lives of hundreds of our student-athletes over that span, and time and again I'm shown just how highly they regard their former coach. He has been a tremendous advocate for not just our athletic department, but this university as a whole. While we will miss having his insight, knowledge and sense of humor on campus, we wish him and his wife Linda all the best on their retirement.” - Amanda Braun, Director of Athletics

A graduate of UWM in 1986, Corfeld was named head coach at Milwaukee in August of 1989. Despite joining an institution that was transitioning to the Division-I level one year after taking the job, he started the winning early on, coaching the women’s cross country team to Mid-Continent Conference title in the fall of 1992. One year later, the Panthers swept the men’s and women’s cross country titles and it was obvious the Panthers had found a winner in Corfeld.

With Milwaukee’s move to the Horizon League in 1994, the Panthers quickly found the winning formula in track & field. The first championship came on the men’s side with an indoor crown in 1997. One year later, the first year the conference held both indoor and outdoor championships, MKE claimed three of the four titles overall.

Corfeld established a winning tradition that would never be broken, bringing home a total of 48 Horizon League Track & Field Championships. In fact, he swept all four titles (men’s and women’s, indoor and outdoor) four times in his career, most recently in 2011.

Further demonstrating the level of consistent dominance, Corfeld’s teams brought home first or second-place team trophies at the conference championships a whopping 75 times out of a combined 90 league meets.

In his 29 years on Milwaukee’s Eastside, Corfeld has completely rewritten the record books, with his student-athletes breaking 88 of the program’s top marks countless times over that span. Additionally, 20 of the Horizon League’s records are currently held by Milwaukee student-athletes; all of which were coached by Corfeld.

His success has certainly carried over to the next level. Milwaukee has produced 15 All-Americans under Corfeld’s coaching, including five in the last three years. The Panthers also have typically sent a large contingent to the NCAA Regional Championships each year, traditionally finishing higher than their seeding.

Corfeld’s student-athletes have also gone on to be named the Horizon League Athlete of the Year 17 times and the prestigious Horizon League Coleman Medal of Honor recipient five times.

He has also coached Milwaukee to a staggering 511 Horizon League event titles.

Many of his former student-athletes have gone on to follow in his footsteps, with over 30 former Panthers passing along the knowledge they learned from Corfeld at both the high school and collegiate levels across the country, many of whom are still coaching to this day.

A national search for the next head coach will begin immediately.

What they’re saying about Coach Corfeld’s retirement:

Jon LeCrone – Horizon League Commissioner

“On behalf of the Horizon League, congratulations to Coach Corfeld on his retirement. Pete has been an extraordinary role model and his list of championships and personal recognition awards is unprecedented in our League. We wish him the very best as he enters this new and exciting time in his life.”

Erin (Magargee) Cutsforth – Former Student-Athlete (2004-08)

“Pete definitely changed my life. He took a chance on my sister and me. We were not recruited. We were calling him all summer asking if we could practice with the team. We were walk-ons and the thing I’ll never forget him saying is, 'There’s a huge difference in coaching someone who has talent versus someone who has heart.' We maybe didn’t have the most talent but we had a ton of heart. Pete saw that in us and was able to turn that heart into something great.
“I’m a therapist now and I tell a lot of them something Pete used to say to us that ‘You can’t change unless you’re uncomfortable.’ That’s definitely something he instilled in us.”

Trentin Edwards – Former Student-Athlete (2005-07)

“I said at my Hall of Fame induction that I always saw Pete as a Bill Belichick type of guy. He’s not necessarily looking for the blue-chip athlete, but he wants the high character guys. Looking back at my time, me and a lot of my teammates were good athletes, but we were better people. It was all about the atmosphere that Pete created of, ‘Do your job and you will be fine.’ There was never any doubt that if you were on the track team, you were going to graduate and you were going to be successful after college because that’s just what Pete instilled into all of us.”

Tim Kenney – Former Student-Athlete (1991-96)

“Pete and I have known each other for 27 years now. I was pretty heavily recruited out of high school until my senior year when I got mono. Everyone stopped calling except for one coach, and that was Pete. When I went on my campus visit he said ‘We’re going to work through this and get better.’ That loyalty was something I’ve never forgotten to this day.”

Danielle (Magargee) Schmeider – Former Student-Athlete (2004-09)

“I’m a personal trainer and I always tell my clients what Pete instilled in us, which was ‘Never say try, because that gives you an option to fail.’ That has always stuck with me. He never gave us that option and always pushed us past our limits. He has meant so much to me and I wish him the best with his retirement.”

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