Pete Colaizzo (Marist '86) is in his 25th year as head coach of the cross country and track and field programs at Marist College. Since taking over the men's program during the winter of 1991, Colaizzo has overseen the complete transformation of the Running Red Foxes. When Colaizzo began in January of 1991, there were four active runners taking part in the club sport of track and field. He marshaled the transition back to NCAA Division I intercollegiate competition for all three seasons. Marist has fielded intercollegiate cross country teams since 1963, while track alternated between club and varsity status from 1963-1991, before becoming a full three-season endeavor in 1991.
In cross country, the Red Foxes have maintained a high level of competitiveness through multiple recruiting cycles. The men's team has finished as MAAC runner-up to nationally-ranked Iona College during the following seasons: 1998, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The top-10 all-time team performances at Van Cortlandt Park have been achieved during Colaizzo's tenure. The 2011 MAAC runner-up team posted the fastest top-5 combined time in school history at Van Cortlandt Park, making it the best team all-time on the course. In 2008 and again in 2010, the Red Foxes placed a program-best 10th at the NCAA Northeast Regionals and third at the IC4A Championships in the Championship Division. The Red Foxes also place 13th at the NCAA Northeast Regional meet in 2013. Previously at the IC4As in the University Division, the Red Foxes were champions in 2000 and runner-up in 2005. Marist also has made its mark in the classroom, earning United States Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team honors every year since 2003.
In track and field, the Red Foxes have secured IC4A qualifying marks during either the indoor or outdoor seasons for every year since 1997. More than 90 percent of the school records have been established, broken or re-broken during Colaizzo's tenure. Colaizzo has also coached 22 of his men's distance runners to sub-15:00 performances at 5,000 meters, with two current team members on that elite list.
Since 2008, Colaizzo has overseen all aspects of the program – men’s distance, women’s distance and men’s and women’s sprints. Numerous school records and program milestones have been achieved since that time in all aspects of the program. In particular, there have been two NCAA East Regional qualifiers – Will Griffin (10,000-meter run, 2011) and Michelle Gaye (10,000-meter run, 2015).
Colaizzo is a big believer in the long-term development of his athletes, and that development does not end with their graduation from Marist College. To that end, in the summer of 2004, Colaizzo formed the Marist Alumni Racing Team. Alumni men’s and women’s runners now don the Marist red-and-white at such prestigious events as the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon.
Colaizzo was a four-year member of the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams at Marist College from 1982 through 1986. During his college career, Colaizzo specialized in long-distance races. Colaizzo still remains active as a recreational long-distance runner. Along with the Marist Alumni Racing Team, Colaizzo is also affiliated with the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club and the Broadway Ultra Society. He has completed 56 marathon or ultra-marathon runs in his career, including at least one marathon finish per year for the past 29 years. He holds the masters’ race record at Sweltering Summer 8-Hour Ultra in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
In addition to his coaching responsibilities at Marist College, Colaizzo works in the Student-Athlete Enhancement Center as a Writing Skills Specialist, assisting Red Fox student-athletes with their academic course work throughout the semester. He is also an adjunct instructor at Marist. Colaizzo is a freelance writer whose work regularly appears in the Poughkeepsie Journal, where he worked full-time for 23 years. His writing has been honored by the New York State Associated Press and in Best of Gannett competitions.
Colaizzo resides in Hyde Park, NY, with his wife Heidi and their children, Joey, Natalie and James.