NEW YORK (AP) _ Niall Bruton had just stepped off the track after winning the Wanamaker Mile at the Chase Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden in 1994 and was feeling chipper.

Waiting to greet him was fellow Irishman Eamonn Coghlan, the world indoor mile record-holder and winner of the Wanamaker Mile a record seven times.

As Coghlan congratulated Bruton, he said, ``One down, six to go.''

Bruton quickly corrected him.

``One down, seven to go,'' he said, looking ahead not only to matching Coghlan's record but breaking it.

Friday night, Bruton, who also won the Wanamaker Mile last year, will be chasing his third title _ and he is getting advice from none other than Coghlan.

Coghlan, now retired from elite competition, became Bruton's coach last September.

``I said in 1994 that he had more talent than I've ever seen in my life,'' Coghlan said. ``I believe he can continue the Irish tradition in the mile that began with Ron Delany.''

Since Delany won his first of four consecutive Wanamaker Mile titles in 1956, other Irish winners were Coghlan and Bruton, and Marcus O'Sullivan, who did it five times.

O'Sullivan, the three-time world indoor champion at 1,500 meters, also is in the race Friday night, along with Olympic 1,500-meter bronze medalist Stephen Kipkorir of Kenya, NCAA indoor mile champion Julius Achon of Uganda, two-time Fifth Avenue Mile winner Isaac Viciosa of Spain and Americans Paul McMullen and Jason Pyrah.

Bruton starred at Arkansas before returning to Dublin to work under Coghlan.

``When I looked at his training diary, he was all over the place,'' Coghlan said. ``Now there's a plan. He's very strong. We top off his strength workouts with a little speed work.''

Bruton is pleased with his change of direction under Coghlan's tutelage.

``My training is more strength-oriented now,'' he said. ``At Arkansas, it was speed-oriented.''

While Bruton would like to continue his impressive Millrose performances, he doesn't want to be branded ``just an indoor runner.''

``It's great to win the Wanamaker Mile, but hopefully it won't be the pinnacle of my career,'' said Bruton, a semifinalist in the 1,500 at last year's Olympic Games.

``In Ireland, as soon as you're born, you're supposed to be an indoor runner automatically,'' he added, jokingly. ``But I don't think I'm built for indoor track. Marcus (who is smaller) has better size.''

Coghlan not only has worked on Bruton's physical condition but also his mental attitude.

``I told Niall that if I can believe in you, you'll win,'' Coghlan said. ``I said to him, `Not only is your reputation at stake this time, but so is mine.' I'm nervous, but I'm sure Niall will deliver.''

In addition to the men's mile, there are outstanding entrants in several other events.

The fields include nearly 60 Olympians and about 30 medalists. Among the 1996 individual gold medalists are hurdlers Allen Johnson and Derrick Adkins, high jumpers Charles Austin and Stefka Kostadinova of Bulgaria, hurdler Deon Hemmings of Jamaica and pole vaulter Jean Galfione of France.

Previous Olympic champions include hurdler Roger Kingdom (1984, 1988), women's sprinter Gwen Torrence (1992) and pole vaulter Maksim Tarasov of Russia (1992).

In addition, longtime Millrose winners competing are Mark Everett (seven victories in middle-distance races), multi-U.S. record-holder Mary Slaney (five wins in women's middle-distance races) and Joetta Clark (six victories in the women's 800).

The meet lost some big names when three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and two-time Olympic sprint winner Gail Devers withdrew because of a financial misunderstanding, and 1992 Olympic champion and two-time world 1,500-meter champion Hassiba Boulmerka of Algeria and two-time Millrose 400-meter winner Maicel Malone withdrew because of injuries.