Thirty-one years ago, Joe Schroeder was living in Boston with 10 of his friends who had all moved east after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University. One Sunday morning, he opened the Boston Globe to check the want-ads and found a job posting for a physical education teacher at the West Tisbury school.

Fast forward to this past Sunday’s edition of The Globe and it’s Joe Schroeder’s name in the paper, celebrated as the cross country coach of the year for the second year in a row.

This fall the Martha’s Vineyard boys cross country team made Island history by winning the Massachusetts Division II State Championship, under the guidance of head coach Joe Schroeder.

Born in Pontiac, Mich., Mr. Schroeder had never been to the Vineyard before inquiring about the job in West Tisbury. He had been offered a job at Mansfield High School but wanted to see how the Vineyard would play out.

“So, I took the last interview, said why don’t I just give this a try. I had never been and haven’t left since,” he said with a laugh.

It was the summer of 1988. “I came here in August on a packed boat. I had to park 15 miles away from Woods Hole and I was in a suit, so I was like, what is going on here, I look so out of place right now.”

He took the job and then one afternoon, while playing pickup basketball in the old high school gym, he ran into Mark McCarthy, now the athletic director at the high school, who said the high school was looking for a track coach.

Mr. Schroeder began his coaching career in the spring of 1989 as head coach of the high school girls track team. For five years the boys track team cycled through a series of coaches until Mr. Schroeder proposed the idea of consolidating the job. With one head coach, the team would have more consistency and could use the money saved to hire assistant coaches, he suggested.

A few years later, in the spring of 1998, Mr Schroeder’s team won all-states in track and field.

In 1995, he added coach of the cross country team to his resume by starting the program. Initially, there was some doubt in the athletic department about how much interest a cross country team would generate.

“We had a whole bunch of tennis players come out the first year, so it was interesting,” Mr. Schroeder recalled. “Once we had a couple girls spread the word a little bit, we had a full girls team and the program took off.”

By 1999, Mr. Schroeder had his first all-state qualifying cross country team. And this fall the Vineyarders were crowned Division II state champions for the first time in school history.

“It takes time,” Mr. Schroeder said of the journey to the top. “In basketball, one person can influence a team and carry them an entire season. But that doesn’t work in cross country. You have to have five and even sometimes seven guys or girls working together on the course and peaking at the right time.”

Then, a few years ago, with help from Joel Graves and Jeremy Alley-Tarter, Mr. Schroeder started an indoor track program at the high school. While MVRHS was still a member of the Eastern Athletic Conference, it was the only school in the association without an indoor track team.

Today, the indoor track program continues to grow. Mr. Schroeder said the opportunity to run and train throughout the winter — even without an indoor track — has helped build momentum for spring track.

“There’s only a handful of schools that have an indoor facility, so at home we have to use the hallways,” he said. “The distance runners have it the easiest, so to speak, they go out in the woods. . . With the sprinters and throwers, we have to be creative. We use the gym on the weekends, but also use hallways and the Performing Arts Center. We’re all over the place. It’s crazy, but a lot of fun.”

For Mr. Schroeder, the most rewarding thing about coaching is “seeing a transformation in the kids, no matter how long it takes, whether it’s four years or sometimes just one season.”

Vito Aiello and Peter Burke, both seniors on this season’s championship squad, carry fond memories of their high school careers. Aiello said his favorite thing about having Mr. Schroeder as his coach is how involved he is in the running community on the Island.

“We don’t lose touch with him, it’s not like it’s a one-season type of deal. You get a coherent experience. . . it’s not like you go from indoor to outdoor and it’s totally different,” Aiello said.

Burke agreed. “Since Joe has so much experience when we go to meets, he shares with us a lot of knowledge on how it’s going to work.”

“He’s got like a VIP pass because everyone knows him,” Aiello said.