Pete Colaizzo (Marist '86) is in his 22nd 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 and 2011. 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.
Also 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. 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 for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
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 19 of his men's distance runners to sub-15:00 performances at 5,000 meters, with five current team members on that elite list.
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 runners now don the Marist red-and-white at such prestigious events as the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon. During the past several years, Marist Alumni Racing Team members have posted strong marathon performances. Girma Segni (Class of 2010) was a top-25 finisher at the 2010 New York City Marathon and owns a personal-best time of 2:21:36, the MART record. His former teammate, Mike Rolek (Class of 2008) was runner-up in the 2010 Steamtown Marathon (2:23:07). David Raucci (Class of 2010) won the 2010 Atlantic City Marathon in 2:24:04.
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 long-distance runner, representing the Marist Alumni Racing Team and the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club. He has completed 49 marathon or ultra-marathon runs in his career, including at least one marathon finish per year for the past 26 years. For the past two years, Colaizzo has worked with the Marist Red Fox Club on the Club's successful Red Fox Trot 5K on the Marist campus. The Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club race has drawn more than 250 runners in each of its first two years.
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, 48, resides in Hyde Park, NY, with his wife Heidi and their children, Joey, Natalie and James.