|Alma Mater:||University of Arkansas '89|
Melody O’Reilly enters her fourth year as the head coach of the Saint Joseph's women's track and field and cross country programs in 2018-19. O'Reilly was named the head coach of the Hawks on August 6, 2015. Most recently the head girls' varsity track and field and cross country coach at Bishop Shanahan High School, O'Reilly is the third head coach in program history.
On the 2017 cross country scene, O'Reilly's Hawks enjoyed success at both the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship and ECAC Championship. Having been not ranked in the region's top 15 all season, SJU broke through with a gritty 13th-place showing in a field of 28 squads at the regional meet before going on to place fifth in a much-expanded field of 25 squads at ECACs, led by All-East selections Cassidy Weimer and Lucy Harmon.
O'Reilly coached the Hawks to a repeat seventh-place finish at the 2018 A-10 Outdoor Championships, matching the program's highest finish since 2004, and saw high jumper Claudine Andre take the titles at both the indoor and outdoor league meets and medal at the indoor and outdoor ECAC meets. O'Reilly also guided SJU's 4x1500m relay to the SJU program record in the event, as the group shattered the previous record by over eight seconds at the Penn Relays.
In O'Reilly's third track and field season at the helm, the Hawks broke six school records, including the indoor high jump, outdoor 200m and 400m, javelin, and outdoor 4x100m relay and 4x1500m relay.
O'Reilly coached the Hawks to a seventh-place finish at the 2016 A-10 Cross Country Championship and a fourth-place finish at the 2016 ECAC Cross Country Championship. O'Reilly guided Lindsey Oremus and Weimer to A-10 All-Conference honors, marking the first time since 2000 that SJU had turned in a pair of All-Conference performers at the league meet.
In O'Reilly's second track and field season at the helm in 2016-17, the Hawks broke seven school records, including the indoor 400m, outdoor 400m hurdles, indoor 4x400m relay, outdoor 4x400m relay, indoor Distance Medley Relay, outdoor 4x100m relay, and outdoor Sprint Medley Relay. SJU would place eighth at the A-10 indoor meet and seventh at the A-10 outdoor meet, where O'Reilly coached Nathaniela Bourdeau, the Most Outstanding Track Performer of the meet, to the 100m and 200m titles. SJU tied for 10th at the ECAC indoor meet and tied for 33rd at the ECAC outdoor meet; at the indoor meet, O'Reilly coached Courtney Foster to the gold medal in the 400m.
In her first year, O’Reilly coached the Hawks to a seventh-place finish at the 2015 A-10 Cross Country Championship as the program bounced back from a 13th-place showing from the previous season. Under O’Reilly’s direction, the Hawks also placed fourth at the ECAC Cross Country Championship, improving seven places from their 2014 finish, and 11th at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, a 10-place improvement from 2014.
Of 12 returners, nine set new collegiate-best times in both the 5k and 6k in O’Reilly’s first year at the helm.
The 2015-16 indoor and outdoor track and field seasons were just as successful, as O’Reilly coached Sarah Regnault to the A-10 indoor 1000m title and Dannah Hayward to the outdoor 400m hurdles title. Regnault’s victory had marked the first time that SJU had won an individual event at the A-10 level since 2010 as SJU earned its first indoor 1000m title at the A-10 level in 19 years. Hayward’s win secured SJU’s first 400m hurdles title at the A-10 level in program history.
Additionally, the ECAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships saw the Hawks score in three different events, a first in program history.
Between the indoor and outdoor seasons, the Hawks broke or matched seven school records, as the indoor 400m, indoor Distance Medley Relay, outdoor 400m, outdoor 400m hurdles, outdoor discus, and outdoor shot put records fell and the indoor high jump record was matched.
In four years at the helm, O’Reilly has produced eight A-10 track and field champions and nine A-10 silver medalists, including the 2017 Atlantic 10 Outdoor Track and Field Championships Most Outstanding Track Performer in Bourdeau, one A-10 All-Rookie Team pick, and 45 All-East selections on the track as well as two A-10 All-Conference and four ECAC All-East selections for cross country.
“We are thrilled to have Melody join our coaching staff,” said former Director of Athletics Don DiJulia. “She fits our mission and vision, knows the area and collegiate landscape, and has been a championship-level competitor, successful coach, and part of our community over the years. We look forward to partnering with her to develop Everyday Champions with our student-athletes in the women's cross country and track programs.”
“Being named head coach of the women's cross country and track and field programs at SJU is an honor,” said O’Reilly. “It won't be easy to step into Coach Quinn’s shoes, but I look forward to the challenge, and I hope I can uphold the strong tradition of excellence and dedication to the sport that he has instilled in his athletes in the past. I look forward to working with the wonderful young women at Saint Joseph’s.”
A collegiate middle distance standout, O’Reilly (nee Sye) spent two years as the head girls’ varsity track and field and cross country coach at Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, Pa. She has served as the head track and field and cross country coach and program director for St. Elizabeth CYO and board member of the St. Elizabeth Athletic Ministry since 2008.
O’Reilly replaced Kevin Quinn, who announced his retirement on June 9, 2015, after 49 seasons between the men’s and women’s programs at Saint Joseph’s University.
Prior to her stint at Bishop Shanahan, O’Reilly served as the assistant coach for the track and field and cross country programs at Haverford College from 1995-2002. She was the head cross country coach at Friends Central School in 1994.
A 1989 graduate of the University of Arkansas, O’Reilly held 10 school records upon graduation and was the first female Razorback to be named an All-American five times in any sport – twice in cross country and once each in the indoor 1000 meters, indoor 1500 meters, and indoor mile. She went on to qualify for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials and represented the United States on multiple national teams.
O’Reilly was inducted in the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, becoming the second female inductee in the history of the University, the South Jersey Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2011, and the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame in 2014, becoming the first female inductee from any sport at that school.
“Getting back into coaching at the collegiate level has been a goal of mine for a while,” added O’Reilly. “I'm so happy it's here at St. Joe’s. I worked in the training room many years ago, and when I came back, many faces were still the same. It feels like I'm coming home.”
O’Reilly is a USATF Level 1 certified coach and has coached athletes that have gone on to compete at the national level while working at Haverford College, including standout Meredith Unger. O’Reilly also coached Pam Stevens, a visually-impaired 400m runner, to the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
O’Reilly received a bachelor’s of science degree in fashion merchandising from Arkansas in 1989. She earned a certification in massage therapy from the Pennsylvania School of Muscle Therapy from 1992-93 and went on to work as a massage therapist at Saint Joseph’s University from 1997-2001.