Mike Straubel enters his 31st season leading the Crusader men's and women's cross country teams in 2017. Straubel is also an assistant coach on the track and field staff, working with Valpo distance runners.
A long-time fixture at Valparaiso University, Straubel has been teaching on campus since 1985 and became the head coach of the cross country program in 1987.
Straubel has aided the development of a number of standout individuals during his time with the program. Most recently, he oversaw the success of Liz (Bloy) Owen during her four years running on the cross country and track and field teams. Owen led the team at the Horizon League Championships (23:08.7) and at the NCAA Regional meet (22:52.8) during her senior cross country season. She earned a variety of track and field honors under Straubel's guidance during her career, being named the Horizon League Athlete of the Year (2016 outdoor) and the Outstanding Running Performer at the Horizon League Championships twice (2016 indoor, 2017 indoor). She won the one mile run (2016 indoor, 2017 indoor) and the 1500m run (2016 outdoor, 2017 outdoor) twice each.
Another recent standout was Jessica Richardson, who earned Horizon League First Team All-League recognition three times (2012, 2013, 2014) while under Straubel's tutelage.
Straubel led the Crusaders into the Horizon League in 2007 and guided both the men's and women's squads to mid-pack finishes in their debuts at the competitive league championships. Both squads boasted two All-League honorees, and Laura Rolf captured the individual championship on the women's side.
Those continued the recent success of the Crusader cross country program. In 2006, their last year competing in the Mid-Continent Conference, Straubel guided both the men's and women's sides to their respective best finishes in the Mid-Continent Conference. Straubel led the Crusader men to a fourth-place finish, matching the best placement in team history, while the women finished second after three consecutive third-place finishes. The two teams combined to earn seven All-Conference honors, the most in a single season in Straubel's career.
The Crusader mentor has seen his runners earn 43 All-League awards, 10 All-Indiana honors, five All-Region commendations, two Newcomer of the Year awards, and two Runner of the Year awards. Straubel has also coached two Indiana State Champions.
Three Crusaders have stood out individually during Straubel's tenure, rewriting the Valpo record books and representing the Crusaders on a regional and national stage. Collette Liss, who donned the Valpo uniform from 1996-99, is a member of the Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame and was a two-time All-Region honoree, Mid-Con Individual Champion and named the conference's Runner of the Year. Aaron Crague, who ran for the Crusaders from 1998-2001 and is also a Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, earned First Team All-Conference honors three times under Straubel's guidance and set Valpo's 8K and 10K records.
Most recently, Straubel has coached Rolf as she has dominated the cross country scene for the Crusaders. In her first three seasons, she has earned All-Region honors all three years and has posted top-five finishes in 12 of her 20 career races. The three-time First Team All-League honoree captured the Horizon League championship last year and earned the league's Athlete of the Year honor, joining Liss as the only runners in program history to receive their league's most prestigious honor.
A full-time professor in Valpo's Law School, Straubel took three students from his Valparaiso Sports Law Clinic to Torino, Italy for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. In Torino, Straubel and his staff provided free advice to any athletes in need of some type of legal support.
An avid runner, Straubel ran collegiately at both Marquette University and McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. While in Canada, he was a member of Quebec's national championship qualifying 4x800 relay team which won a Provincial Championship.
Straubel became a Masters All-American in the mile in 1998 and in the 3,000m in 2000. In 1991, he took third place in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Track Athletics Congress (TAC) National Masters Championships.
Also an assistant coach with the Crusader track and field team, Straubel earned his bachelor's degree in 1979 from Western Michigan, picked up his J.D. from the Marquette Law School in 1982 and earned a LL.M. degree from McGill in 1987.