The Athletics Project - Our Story

Matt Coolen was an icon in U Sports for quite some time. Matt’s explosive starts to his heroic finishes he is simply amazing to watch when he competes. Not only a strong athlete but also overwhelmingly sound academically. Matt, a very humble individual who continuous to give back to the sport by motivating young athletes in his training and guidance he provides as a coach. We are surely honored to have him as a part of the ATHLETICS PROJECT.

ANS: Matt most people know you to be a great hurdler and sprinter are there other interests outside of Athletics that you enjoy?

Matt: I enjoy participating in any outdoor activity. Outside of track, I love golfing, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding and I've always loved to travel. Also, I recently developed an interest in backpacking and camping.

ANS: Describe your major highlights and achievements in sports in the past?

Matt: My major achievements were winning various medals in AUS and U Sports competitions, while competing for the Dalhousie Tigers. Other highlights I am really proud of during my time at Dalhousie was winning the Dalhousie Climo (AoTY) Award 2x's, the Dalhousie President's Award and the U Sports Academic All-Canadian Award.

I also hold indoor and outdoor Nova Scotia provincial records over various different age groups in the 60m, 60mH, 100m, 110mH and 200m events.

Another accomplishment I am really proud of and was a huge milestone in my track and field career was making the 2015 Junior Pan Canadian National team.

ANS: Matt what is the best piece of advice you’ve gained from coaches you have had in the past?

Matt: I have been fortunate to have very good coaches throughout my life. I have learned many valuable lessons from my coaches. Although, the best advice they’ve given me, which could be applied to various aspects of my life, was to never give up. During my five seasons at Dalhousie, I encountered many injuries and illnesses that set me back, and at times I thought my seasons were over. My coaches motivated me and helped me regain focus, which led me to winning national medals later in those seasons.

ANS: With all the things you are involved with how you would rank the top five priorities currently in your life.

Matt: My top five priorities, in no particular order are health and wellness, relationships with friends and family, my profession/work life, track and field, and happiness.

ANS: Matt is there a coach or athlete that you look up to as a role model and why?

Matt: My coaches, Mike Bawol and Andrew Conrad have always been my role models. They have been my coaches for many years, and they have had a large impact on my athletic and personal life. They have taught me everything I know about track and were by my side for the ups and downs. I have learned a lot from them, and they have shaped who I have grown into, and I am very appreciative for all they’ve done.

ANS: Matt, what do you see yourself accomplishing in next five to ten years?

Matt: In the next five to ten years, I plan to continue to stay active, advance my professional life, buy a home and travel more.

ANS: Matt, a number of athletes have a quote or motto they follow to motivate them in life. Is there one quote or motto you follow that sums up the way you think?

I don’t have a particular quote or motto that I follow, but I am someone who loves to learn and try new things, so I think I'm a lifelong learner who is always open to new experiences.

Matt, it has been a pleasure to have you as part of the ATHLETICS PROJECT. I know you are certainly a role model for younger athletes. Your work ethic and determination to achieve the goals you have set for your self is truly motivational. I see you on the track still training, still pushing to achieve higher standards. I know staying injury free and juggling other aspects of your life is hard. I am confident though if the stars align for you and you are able to train consistently, we will once again see you accomplish great things on the track. Thanks so much for sharing.