Coach Halper has been at Worcester State since the summer of 1999 when he was named the women's track and field coach and also assisted with the men’s program. With the beginning of the 2002-2003 season, Halper assumed duties as head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs. In 2009, with the expansion of team numbers, the men and women split into separate programs though sharing coaching staffs. Since that time, Halper has concentrated on the men’s cross country/track and field programs as head coach. His experience and knowledge has brought to the university, the impetus which was needed to raise the level of the program to new heights and successes.
This past year, the Lancers men’s track & field program won back-to-back MASCAC Championships (indoor and outdoor) and also claimed its first MASCAC/Little East Conference Alliance Championship. The men’s program sent three student-athletes to nationals for a total of six events. The Lancers saw one national champion in the high jump for the programs’ second-ever individual national title. Of the three student-athletes that were in attendance, two of them earned All-American status. In recent years, the men’s program has regularly been among the top ten D3 New England teams as well as gaining several high rankings both regionally and nationally.
Prior to coming to Worcester State, Halper had served as head coach of the Holy Cross women’s cross country/track and field programs since their inception in 1976 until June 1999 when Holy Cross decided to make the position full time. Unable to accept the position due to previous teaching obligations, Halper was available to join the staff at Worcester State. Halper’s squads have long been recognized and respected among their competitors. In his twenty-three years at Holy Cross, he had helped to make the Crusader cross country and track programs among the strongest and most successful in the East. His cross-country teams have made four national championship appearances, finishing second on two occasions. His track and field program produced several nationally ranked relays and a number of top ten All New England Championship finishes both indoor and outdoor including a second place finish in the 1984 Outdoor season.
While coaching twelve All-Americans and having his teams accumulate a long list of titles, Halper, over the years, has earned several individual honors as well. While at Holy Cross, in 1982 and 1983, he was named the NCAA Division II Northeast Region Coach of the Year. More recently, at Worcester State, he was given MASCAC Cross Country Coach of the Year accolades in 2007. He was also one of the founders and has served as the first commissioner of the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Cross-Country and Track and Field Association. In addition, he has served as a member of NCAA, ECAC and EAIAW cross country and track committees and the Massachusetts Track Officials Association.
Halper’s philosophy of coaching is based on his teaching / coaching background in which the principles of consistency, adaptability and specificity help mold each athlete toward development, improvement and success. He considers himself an educator first and prides himself on a program that promotes, above all, the athletes’ dedication for success in the classroom leading toward a timely graduation and a viable career after college. Halper’s job, along with his coaching staff, is to provide each athlete with a rewarding, fun athletic opportunity that will greatly enhance their overall college experience and allow them to gain from the principles associated with participation in cross country and/or track and field.
A respected lecturer at camps and clinics, Halper is particularly well known for his expertise in event specific hydrotraining, hydrotherapy, and speed training. His philosophy for coaching in the middle and long distances are also topics at clinics and camps. Halper’s coaching interests also extend beyond Worcester State. He has organized and provided fall and spring marathon as well as various other distance running programs to members of the Central Mass Striders Running Club. He has been active in the Bay State Games since its beginning and the previously held U.S. Youth Games. Locally, he helped to create the Worcester Track Club to benefit youth and “open” athletes in the city and surrounding communities. Halper has also done graduate work in sports medicine. A former trackman at Rutgers University and a native of Middletown, NY, Al remains a runner and occasionally, a competitor on the road and track. Al has two children, a son, Sean and a daughter, Marisa. He resides in Northborough, MA.