KAYLIN PELLEGRINI | STAFF REPORTER
The first conference that Roe’s teams faced was the Horizon League.
In 2011, Mara Olson was a freshman and just starting her collegiate running career with the Bulldogs. Now a senior, Olson recalls the team’s dominance that year.
“We would usually win the Horizon League pretty handily,” she said, “which was always really exciting and always a little bit of a boost of confidence but we didn’t necessarily improve all that much.”
Roe said he believed the level of competition could have been better.
“It’s not realisitic to win the way that we did in the Horizion League,” he said. “We were winning very easily. And that was a bit of a challenge because we would have to step down to our conference meet and then step back up again to the NCAA regional meet.”
From 2007-2012, Roe’s athletes amassed 171 All Horizon League honors, 66 Individual and Relay titles, 16 Athletes of the Year, 14 Horizon League Championship records, nine Cross Country team titles, and eight Newcomer of the Year awards.
The Bulldogs continued their dominance under Roe when Butler made the switch from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 in 2012.
“Going into the A-10 and rolling over those teams when we weren’t picked to win and we just crushed everybody, that was fun,” Roe said.
During their one year in the A-10, the Bulldogs earned 26 All A-10 honors, three Rookie of the Year awards, and one Athlete of the Year recognition.
Last year Coach Roe lead his teams into one of the toughest and most consistent conferences in the nation, the Big East.
“Going to the A-10 it was tougher, and going to the Big East it’s as tough as it gets in the country and I think it’s raised the standard for us,” Roe said.
Olson was a junior at the time of the switch to the Big East.
“Moving over to the Big East was a little bit of a wake up call,” she said. “It’s really good practice for us to get national level competition without having to be in a national race.”
Erik Peterson, a sophomore when Butler made the change, agreed.
“It’s a higher standard all around,” Peterson said. “There were definitely some good individuals but I think team-wise there weren’t as many good teams in the conference (A-10) and the Big East is much more team focused.”
The 2013 season concluded with the Butler men’s and women’s teams placing third in the Big East Cross Country Championships. At the 2013 NCAA Championship, the Butler women raced to a third place finish, culminating the success of their first season in the Big East.
No matter the conference and no matter the year, academics have played a key part in the success of Roe’s teams.
“If you’re at a great school, your job gets a lot easier,” Roe said. “I think it’s advantageous to be at a school that’s high academically because you can get really disciplined people.”
Roe believes that his runners’ academic success aids to their success on the course.
“Great students have great habits,” Roe said. “You have to have great habits to maximize your potential.”
The academic succes of Roe’s athletes is indisputable. Throughout the conference changes, the Bulldogs have consistently received U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Recognition and have been awarded a top 10 percent Academic Progress Rating by the NCAA.
The conference changes, the accomplishments on the course, and the high academic standards have combined to create a one-of-a-kind experience for Roe.
“Not many coaches get to be in three conferences in three years and have success in three conferences in three years and to experience that is unique,” Roe said. “That will never happen again.”