Cleary has been associated with the program for 15 years, as a graduate assistant and as a full-time assistant under coaches Martin Puskin and Jeff Huntoon. In 2005, Cleary officially became the head coach of the cross country team after spending the previous four seasons as an assistant coach to Huntoon, but as the primary trainer of the distance runners. Prior to the 2001 season, Cleary served as a graduate assistant for eight seasons.
Cleary helped the cross country team win its first-ever mid-Atlantic regional championship in 2004 and was a major part of WVU's 15th-place finish at the NCAA championships that same season. For his efforts, Cleary was named the 2004 mid-Atlantic regional coach of the year by a vote of 31 fellow coaches within the region. Cleary and the cross country staff have won four regional coaching staff of the year awards.
"Marty Pushkin brought me here in the early ‘90s to help rebuild the distance program," says Cleary. "To follow in his and Coach Huntoon's footsteps is an honor that I am truly proud of. To be given this opportunity by Mr. Pastilong is an honor, and I look forward to continuing the track and field success at WVU."
While assisting Coach Pushkin and as the distance coach, Cleary has overseen 22 all-conference and four All-American cross country runners. Since Cleary's arrival in Morgantown, distance runners have competed at the NCAA championships 103 times, culminating in 37 All-American awards. Cleary helped lead West Virginia to all three of its NCAA championship appearances and also has coached 14 athletes who have competed at the World Track and Field, World Cross Country, World University Games and Pan American Championships. From 1998 to 2004, WVU's distance medley relay team in track qualified seven consecutive years for nationals, which was the second longest streak in the nation under Cleary's watch.
The Georgetown, Ontario, native was a captain on the Mountaineer cross country team in 1991 and 1992. Cleary helped the 1991 squad capture the Atlantic-10 cross country title and he earned all-conference honors his last season, while helping West Virginia to a second-place conference finish.
Cleary also attended Central Oregon Community College where he helped lead the team to the National Junior College Athletic Association title. Cleary received a bachelor's degree in physical education from WVU in 1992.