Michael Porter - Women's Cross Country - Vanderbilt University Athletics

Michael Porter

Assistant Coach • Distance

Coaching Highlights
1 – Qualifier for the Pan American U20 Championships at Vanderbilt
1 – Qualifier for the World Junior Cross Country Championships at Clemson
1 – All-SEC Freshman country selection at Vanderbilt (women’s XC)
1 – SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year at Vanderbilt (men’s XC)
1 – Academic All-American at Vanderbilt (men’s XC)
1 – SEC medal
 SEC scoring performances
 All-South Region cross country selections 
– School records at Vanderbilt 
6 – All-America selections
11– qualifiers for the NCAA DI Track & Field Championships at Clemson

Michael Porter joined the Vanderbilt cross country and track and field programs as an assistant coach in 2021. He coaches distance student-athletes.  

Achievements at Vanderbilt – Assistant Coach (2021–present)
Track & Field
During the 2024 indoor season, Porter guided Julia Rosenberg to qualifying for the NCAA East First Round in the 1,500 meters and breaking the school records in the 1,000 and 3,000 meters indoors and 5,000 meters outdoors.

In her first-ever 10,000-meter race, Bria Bennis, coaches by Porter, scored at the SEC Championships. With his coaching, Emma Curry and Audrey Allman and Rosenberg contributed to Vanderbilt’s bronze medal-winning performance in the distance medley relay at the SEC Indoor Championships.

In 2023, Porter coached Niki Narayani and Caroline Eck to achieving the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in school history in the 3,000 meters. At the SEC Indoor Championships, Narayani scored in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters. With Porter’s tutelage, Eck and Narayani advanced to the NCAA East First Round in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, respectively.

Allman, coached by Porter, was selected to represent Team USA at the Pan American U20 Championships after placing sixth in the 1,500 meters at the USATF U20 Outdoor Championships.

Porter tutored Grace Jensen, who broke school records in the mile and 1,500 meters and placed in the top five in both events at the 2022 SEC Championships. That year, student-athletes Porter coached achieved 11 marks ranking in the program’s all-time top 10.

Cross Country
During the 2023 cross country season, Porter led the women’s cross country team to a seventh place finish, its best since his coming to Vanderbilt. Two Dores, Jackson Scruggs and Colette Kinsella, were top-15 freshman finishers at the NCAA Cross Country South Region Championships.

After placing 18th overall and first among SEC freshmen and teammates at the Joe Piane Invitational, Jack DesRoches was named the SEC Men’s Freshman Runner of the Week. He paced the Dores at two meets in 2023.

During the 2022 cross country season, the women’s team, paced by Niki Narayani, finished 10th at the NCAA South Region Championships. With Porter’s guidance, Narayani placed 23rd and earned all-region honors for the first time in her career.

In Porter’s inaugural season with the Commodores, the women’s cross country team, seeded eighth, finished sixth at the 2021 NCAA South Region Championships. At the same meet, the men’s team recorded a 12th place finish. That year, Cameron Fawcett became the 12th woman in program history and the first since 2019, to earn All-SEC Freshman honors.

Academic Honors
The men’s and women’s cross country teams earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors each of his three years at Vandy. In 2022, the men’s team boasted the highest grade point average across all Division I teams.

In 2021, Nick Laning was named the 2021 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a College Sports Communicators Academic All-America selection. Laning and Matthew Estopinal were also named CSC Academic All-District in 2021. 

Narayani and Eck made the USTFCCCA All-Academic team during the 2023 track season, and four cross country and distance student-athletes earned CSC Academic All-District recognition.

Prior to Vanderbilt
At Kentucky – Volunteer Assistant Coach (2019–21)
Porter came to Nashville after a brief stop at the University of Kentucky, where he served as a volunteer assistant coach.

At Clemson – Assistant Coach (2014–19)
Before his stop in Lexington, Porter was an assistant coach at Clemson from 2014 to 2019. During that time, the Tigers earned two ACC team titles, while Porter tutored six All-Americans, 11 NCAA qualifiers, 12 top-three ACC finishers and 27 student-athletes among the school’s all-time top 10.

Porter mentored six-time All-American Grace Barnett, who placed ninth at the 2016 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships, and three-time All-ACC recipient Logan Morris, who represented the United States at the 2017 World Junior Cross Country Championship.

Beginnings of a coaching career
Before Clemson, Porter was a volunteer assistant coach at LSU, and he served as head coach at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford, Virginia, from 2008 to 2012.

Coaching Experience
• Assistant Coach, Vanderbilt (2021–present)
• Volunteer Assistant Coach, Kentucky (2019–21)
• Assistant Coach, Clemson (2014–19)
• Volunteer Assistant Coach, LSU (2012–13)
• Head Coach, Colonial Forge High School (2008–12)