Dr. Drew Ludtke was named the new distance coach for VMI track and field and cross country on Sept. 16, 2015.
He replaced Jennifer Fazioli, who left in late August to accept a job at Texas Christian, and led the VMI men's cross country program to its best conference finish since 2005, a runner-up result, in his first SoCon Championship at the helm of the Keydets. Ludtke also mentored Sean Helmke to a runner-up finish in the steeplechase and Avery Martin to his first conference championship, a win in the 800, during the outdoor season. Most recently, Ludtke's second season saw Jay Broom earn Second Team All-SoCon honors at the conference championship, while Ryan Drew was named to the All-Freshman squad.
Ludtke, who joined the VMI staff as an assistant track and field/cross country coach, comes to VMI from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he served as head women's cross country coach and an assistant in the women's track and field program.
On the cross country course at UW-Oshkosh, Ludtke coached three runners to top-10 finishes at the WIAC Championship, two runners to top-10 placings at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional and one national champion, Christy Cazzola, who won the 2012 Division III Cross Country title.
Ludtke's track teams were coming off back to back NCAA Division III titles, including in 2013, when he shared head coaching duties and was named co-National Coach of the Year. On the track, he has coached 14 NCAA champions at the mid-distances and up.
In 2014, Ludtke's UW-Oshkosh Titans placed second at the WIAC Championship and seventh at the Midwest Regional, their second straight seventh-place finish at that event. 2012 had seen Cazzola win the conference, regional and national titles under Ludtke’s tutelage, while the Titans finished 29th at the national meet, fourth at the regional event and third at the conference competition. Cazzola was named the NCAA Division III Athlete of the Year.
In 2013, Ludtke shared the head coaching duties of the UW-Oshkosh track and field program and was named the National Indoor Co-Coach of the Year after helping the Titans to the NCAA Division III title. He coached Cazzola to five national records and the distance medley relay team to one. The Titans went on to win the national title again the following season with Ludtke acting as an assistant.
Ludtke was the head coach of cross country and track & field at the University of St. Francis (Ill.) from 2005-12. In cross country, Ludtke guided the University of St. Francis men to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) titles each of his final two seasons. The Saints finished 13th at the 2011 NAIA Championship and 14th in 2010. Those national appearances were the first in program history.
Ludtke was named the CCAC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2011. During those seasons, 13 Saints gained all-conference honors. In 2011, the University of St. Francis women appeared in the NAIA Top 25 for the first time.
As the University of St. Francis track & field coach, Ludtke improved each program immensely. Ludtke had two men gain All-America status in the 5,000-meter run at the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Championship. Indoors, his women earned a pair of All-America awards, the first in program history.
Ludtke was the head coach of cross country and track & field at Lake Superior State University (Mich.) from 2002-05. During that time, the Lakers qualified nine athletes for the NCAA Division II championships.
From 2000-02, Ludtke was the head cross country coach and assistant track & field coach at NCAA Division I University of North Texas. His men’s cross country team won the Sun Belt Conference title in 2000 and placed second in 2001.
Ludtke competed at Lake Superior State University and the University of North Texas from 1995-2000. He was a member of Lake Superior State University’s 1996 men’s basketball Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship team. At the University of North Texas, Ludtke participated in cross country and track & field. He helped the Mean Green to the Sun Belt Conference cross country title in 2000.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Lake Superior State University in 1999, Ludtke received a master’s degree from the University of North Texas in 2001 and a doctorate from Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) in 2011.
Ludtke and his wife, Jen, have a daughter, Deena, and son, Tyler.