Mark Pryor was named the Men's & Women's Cross Country Head Coach in April 2016 to re-establish the program at CCBC - Catonsville which previously enjoyed successful results.
Pryor brings with him 4 years of coaching distance runners on the Division I level, 11+ years of high school coaching in Baltimore County in cross country and T&F. Pryor was also a professional mid-distance runner for 7 years qualifying for the US Olympic Trials and competing nationally and internationally in Europe; specializing in the 800m & 1500m.
Pryor's previous collegiate coaching includes assisting head coaches at Old Dominion University, Morgan State and Coppin State University. At Coppin, Pryor was instrumental in the training and direction of both the men's & women's cross country teams who won Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championships. While still training as a professional, Pryor often led world-class level workouts and shared his wisdom and knowledge helping his athletes achieve national class results. Pryor is proud of his work with Coppin State's first male track NCAA All-American, Ian Roberts, who placed 6th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 800m event in 1998.
Pryor was asked to be XC/T&F head coach of a Baltimore County high school steeped in a tradition of winning. Woodlawn HS won State Indoor & Outdoor track championships in 1987, 1988 and 1998 under Dick Estees and Michael Sye. In 1999, Pryor helped Woodlawn HS place 2nd at both the Indoor & Outdoor State Championships. In 2000, Woodlawn again was 2nd at the Indoor State Championships scoring in both the sprint & distance events. Pryor coached at least 5 State Champions at Woodlawn HS that include State Record holder Joel Brown (55H, 110H, 300H), Clevon Johnson (800m), Ronald Bias (HJ, LJ), Shelby Frink (SP). Under Pryor, Woodlawn dominated Baltimore County winning no fewer than 9 indoor & outdoor championships as well as 4 Regional titles. The boys set a still standing Baltimore County record in the 4x800m relay running 7:57. In Cross Country, Pryor enjoyed individual success. Alexis Rice placed in the top 10 at the 4A State XC Finals twice during his 4 year career. Dominating performances by Dwight Parker who won 3 consecutive Baltimore County & 4A Regional XC titles from 2003 - 2006 capped off by a runner-up finish at the 2005 4A State XC Finals at Hereford. On the track, Parker ran 9:13 for 3200m, 4:17 for 1600m as well as 1:55 for 800m.
While at Woodlawn HS, Pryor was solely responsible for coordinating the successful recruiting process of his athletes who attracted athletic scholarships from 1998 - 2010 at schools such as Ohio State, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Long Island University, UMES, Western MD, Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary's, Georgian Court, Bowie State, Savannah State, Morgan, Coppin State, and several Junior Colleges.
Mark Pryor's most recent & proudest coaching success came in 2015 where he served as the personal coach for Milford Mill HS star, Jordan Leon. Leon won the 800m, 1600m, 3200m events at the indoor and outdoor County and Regional Championships. At the Indoor State Finals, Leon broke the 3A State record in the 800m run. But at the Outdoor State T&F Finals in Class 3A, Leon won the 3200m (9:20), 1600m (4:15), 800m (1:53) runs as well as anchored the winning 4x400m relay. 2 weeks later at the Nike HS Nationals, Leon anchored the winning Sprint Medley Relay running 1:49.1 split on the 800m anchor leg. Jordan Leon received a full athletic scholarship from University of Maryland - Eastern Shore where he currently is enrolled.
During Pryor's collegiate career at Syracuse University, he was considered a jack-of-all-trades leading his team in cross country, indoor & outdoor track from 10k to the 4x400m relay. Before graduating from Syracuse, Pryor held school records in the 800m, 4x400m and 4x800m relay. The 4x800m relay record is now in its 25th year. In cross country, Pryor served as team captian and #1 man at several meets. Indoors, he gained All-Conference honors at the Big East Championships running 800m, 1500m, 4x800 and Distance Medley Relays. Outdoors, Pryor anchored the Syracuse 4x400m relay to a 2nd place finish helping the Orangemen place 2nd as a team at the 1990 Big East Championships.
Pryor credits his years (1985 - 1990) as an Orangeman as shaping his competitive drive and mental toughness. The cold winters of Central NY along with trying to keep up with the success of his fellow Orangemen and lifelong friends Derrick Coleman (NBA), Rob Moore (NFL), Keith Owens (LAX) and Duburne Reid (LAX). Both Coleman and Moore were #1 picks in the NBA & NFL drafts while Owens and Reid both won NCAA Lacrosse titles playing alongside Paul & Gary Gait. Cuse' QB Don McPherson was a Heisman Trophy candidate as winning was a familiar theme in Manley Field House.
After college, Pryor continued to train as a post-collegiate (800m and 1500m) and was subsequently chosen as a member of NIKE Atlantic Coast. Pryor credits friendships with 1992 US Olympian Terrance Herrington (1500m) and former VMI and Clemson coach, Wade Williams, as his introduction to world-class training and coaching. Georgetown head coach, Frank Gagliano, also helped shaped Pryor's coaching philosophy and workouts which helped during his days at Syracuse and beyond. In 1992, Pryor qualified for the US Olympic Trials. In 1993, Pryor was selected for the East team of the US Olympic Festival. From 1988 - 1993, Pryor ran at the prestigious 5th Avenue Mile in NYC.
A native New Yorker born in Harlem, Pryor attended Cardinal Spellman HS in the Bronx where he enjoyed just one year of cross-country and T&F before moving on to Syracuse University and attracting an athletic scholarship. It was that fall at Van Courtland Park that inspired Pryor to dream about winning an Olympic medal in the distance events.
A proud father of 4 children: Canaan, Gabrielle, twins Mark Gaines and Gregory Jordan Pryor. All four are currently pursuing their college degrees. All 4 children graduated from Baltimore County Public Schools (Woodlawn & New Town). Coach Pryor believes that distance running is a way of life and not just a sport.