One of the finest distance running coaches in the country, Mel Brodt retired from coaching in 1984 after 25 years at the helm of the Bowling Green State University men’s cross country squad as well as 20 years as head men’s track & field coach.
A 1943 graduate of Fairborn (OH) High School, Brodt was a four-year letterwinner in track and a two-year letterwinner in cross country at Miami University (OH). After earning his Bachelor of Science degree from Miami in 1949, he received his Master’s Degree at the University of Illinois in 1950.
Brodt began his coaching career at John Adams High School in Cleveland in 1950. In ten years at John Adams, he led his team to numerous honors, including two state track & field championships and two state cross country championships, before moving to Bowling Green in 1960.
During his illustrious career at BGSU, he coached four straight top-ten NCAA Championships in cross country from 1969-72 as well as the 1969 MAC Men’s Cross Country Champions. His squads also finished in the runner-up spot seven times. Brodt was equally successful after taking over the entire track & field program in 1965, winning seven major championships, including the 1972 MAC title. Bowling Green finished as runners-up in the 1972 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. During his tenure, Brodt coached 53 Division I All Americans, one Olympic Champion (Dave Wottle), one world record holder, three American event record holders, and 92 MAC Champions.
In addition to his duties at Bowling Green, Brodt served in a number of international coaching positions. In 1976, Brodt served as the AAU International Team coach for the U.S. team that competed against Russia in Leningrad, and in 1980 he was the head coach of the first USA national junior team that competed in the Pan American Games. In 1981, Brodt was one of two men on a five-week tour to conduct clinics throughout six countries in Europe under the auspices of the State Department and the U.S .Air Force in Europe.
Brodt is a former president of both the Division I cross country and Division I track & field coaches associations. After retiring from Bowling Green, he remained active as an international clinic speaker.
Brodt was inducted into the Ohio Association of Track Coaches Hall of Fame in 1970, and entered the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1984. He also was the recipient of the Ed Baker Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to track & field in Ohio and was inducted into the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988. The BGSU cross country programs honor him by hosting a meet in his name each fall, and in 2001, the BGSU cross country course was named after Brodt.