Coach Jerry

Jerry Alexander was a walk-on at Columbia who at least partially made up for his complete lack of talent with his dogged refusal to accept the reality that he had no business running in Division I. As a senior, Jerry was captain of the Lions Cross Country and Track squads. Jerry used his final year of track eligibility as a first year law student at Vanderbilt, where he broke the school record in the steeplechase. Jerry’s running “career” was cut short by injury, which prompted him to take up the noble art of coaching.

Because Jerry subscribes to the proposition that the coach gets full credit for all successes (and its corollary that the coach takes no blame for any failures), he is quick to take credit for the excellent results achieved by GRC men on his watch including three top-ten finishes at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships and victory in the 2018 Millrose Games Distance Medley Relay.

Outstanding individual achievements include (but are not limited to):

  • Kieran O’ Connor – 24th at the 2016 Olympic Trials and 2020 Trials Qualifier, Half Marathon Club Record (64:38)
  • Zach Hine – marathon PR of 2:16:36, club record 30th place finish at 2021 Clubs XC
  • Dan Meeter – 2020 Trials Qualifier in Marathon Debut (2:17:38), 96th place at 2020 Trials
  • Lucas Stalnaker – 20th Place Finish in the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championship in the 10,000 Meters and Club Records at 3000 (8:11), road 8k (23:46), and 10,000 (28:57)
  • Mike Franklin – 2014 Penn Relays 10,000 Champion (29:32)
  • Luke Meyer – 10 Mile Club Record (48:46)
  • Elias Graca – Club Records in 800m (1:52.91), mile (4:08.8) and road mile (4:07.99)
  • Daniel Trettel – 1500 Club Record (3:50.67)
  • Paul Thistle – 3000 Steeplechase Club Record (9:00.5)
  • Carlos Jamieson – Road 5k Club Record (14:27)

Jerry also takes credit for huge PRs run by, among others, Kieran O’Connor (2:18:53 marathon), Lucas Stalnacker (1:05:26 half marathon), Dan Meteer (1:04:53 half marathon), Sam Doud (2:19:57 marathon), Carlos Jamieson (29:34 10,000), Stewart Reich (8:34 3000, 14:30 5000, 29:46 10,000), Sam Luff (14:15 5000, 29:37 10,000), Jerry Greenlaw (2:26:50 marathon), Kevin McNab (50:28 10 mile), Ben Szuhaj (29:48 10,000), Mark Hopely (2:25:56 marathon), Brian Rich (50:31 10 mile), Joe Wiegner (14:34 5k, 30:31 10k), Patrick Hanley (1:07:17 half marathon), Ryan Hanson (8:23 3000), Jake Klim (30:52 10k, 1:09:19 half marathon), Evan Jurkovich (1:09:24 half marathon, 2:27:37 marathon), Dickson Mercer (1:09:57 half marathon, 2:28:01 marathon), and for Sean Barrett’s qualification for the 2013 World Military Cross Country Championships, where he placed third for the United States in the long course race.

Jerry also claims full credit for the transformation of the GRC’s women’s team into a burgeoning national power, which was amply demonstrated by the team’s outstanding 5th place finish in the 2021 USATF Club Cross Country Championships, and victory in the Distance Medley Relay at the 2017 Millrose Games. 

Outstanding individual achievements include (but are not limited to):

  • Frances Koons – 8th at the 2014 USATF Club Cross Country Championship, 8th place and 3rd American at the BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country race in Scotland, 2015 Penn Relays 5000 Champion, Club Records in 10,000 (33:17), road 8k (26:27), and road 10k (34:14)
  • Emily de La Bruyere – USATF Outdoor Championships Qualifier in the 3000 Steeplechase (2017 and 2018), Club Records in 3000 (9:24.28), Steeplechase (9:59.33), 5000 (16:15.39), and road 5k (16:25) 
  • Gina McNamara – Club Records in the 1000m (2:57.6), mile (4:53.53), and road mile (4:40.04)
  • Maura Linde – 20th at the 2017 USATF Clubs XC Championship,108th at 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon (2:44:13)
  • Kerry Allen – Club Record in the Marathon (2:40:12)
  • Teal Burrell – 72nd at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon
  • Emily Potter – 102nd at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon
  • Stephanie Reich – 2016 and 2017 Penn Relays 10,000 Champion, 2016 Army Ten Mile Champion, Clubs Records in 1500m (4:27.9) and 10 Mile (56:29)
  • Frances Loeb – 2016 Penn Relays 5000 Champion
  • Alex Morris – Club Record in 800m (2:08.87)

Jerry also takes credit for huge PRs run by, among others, Cecilia Barowski (2:02.14 800), Stephanie Reich (16:25 5000, 34:12 10,000, 1:15:45 half marathon), Teal Burrell (1:18:53 half marathon, 2:42:13 marathon), Cleo Whiting (27:05 5 mile, 57:13 10 Mile), Lindsay O’Brien (34:38 10k, 57:47 10 mile), Maura Linde (4:32 1500, 16:27 5000, 57:00 10 mile), Hilary May (4:32 1500, 9:52 3000, 16:56 5000), Maura Carroll (17:27 5000, 35:45 10k, 59:56 10 mile, 1:19:46 half marathon, 2:49:54 marathon), Alex Morris (4:34.8 1500), Beth Young (1:17:18 half marathon, 2:49:30 marathon), Kristin Johnson (59:40 10 mile, 1:19:21 half marathon, 2:48:06 marathon), Taylor Tubbs (59:20 10 mile), Michelle Miller (35:36 10k, 59:20 10 mile, 1:19:41 half marathon), Frances Loeb (59:59 10 mile, 2:49:40 marathon), Elena Barham (9:45 3000, 16:51 5000, 1:21:14 half marathon), Catherine Campbell (4:49 1500, 9:56 3000, 16:55 5000, 1:18:23 half marathon, 2:43:57 marathon), Frankie Brilliante (2:51:08 marathon), and Kayla Keane (16:45 5000, 59:19 10 mile).

Before he started working with post-graduate athletes, Jerry was a college coach in the DC area.  When Jerry became Head Coach at the University of the District of Columbia in 1995, he inherited a program that was in complete disarray.  In his two years at UDC, Jerry recruited and coached an athlete who qualified for Division II nationals in the 800 and 1500 in indoor and outdoor track, but his rebuilding project was cut short when budget problems led to the suspension of the athletic department.  Jerry moved to American University where he was Assistant Coach for seven years, during which time he recruited and coached All-Americans Sean O’Brien, Sean Duffy, and Samia Akbar.

Jerry also coaches the Northern Virginia Running Club, a community-based team where he has worked with numerous standout women distance runners, including Jessica McGuire, who qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon with a huge PR of 2:43:55, former LaSalle All-American Kathy Liever, and Martha Merz, who broke the 17 year-old American Record for 10,000 meters for runners over 45 years-old at the 2008 Penn Relays.

Jerry lives in Bethesda with his wife Michelle, who only runs when she’s chasing their son Jacob.  When he’s not devising new and unique ways to whip his runners into shape, Jerry is a Trial Attorney with the United States Department of Justice.