IWU Track & Field to gain new coach, outdoor track

Samira Kassem

Schumacher has been the head men’s and women’s track and field coach at IWU since 1997. 
Photo: IWU Track and Field via Facebook

The university announced early this week that the IWU track and field program will add a new member to the coaching staff as early as this January. 

Along with the announcement about the new coach, the university also released its plans to replace the outdoor track, a project long-awaited by the track and field programs. 

The current head coach of the program, Chris Schumacher has held the position since 1997. 

He led the teams to four NCAA championships and produced 283 All-Americans and 18 individual national champions. 

Schumacher was named Division III “Coach of the Year” by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in 2008, 2010, and 2016 as well as Midwest Region “Coach of the Year” in 2008-2010, in 2012 and 2015-2016.

The IWU track and field staff as a whole was voted CCIW “Staff of the Year” in 2005, 2008-2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016. 

The teams’ continued success has earned them the new addition. 

An interview committee made up of the chair and Athletic Director Mike Wagner, Schumacher, Head Cross Country Coach Greg Huffaker, Director of Athletic Communications Katie Gonzalez, Head Football Coach Norm Eash, Head Volleyball Coach Kim Nelson Brown and Assistant Athletic Director Tony Bankston will select a new head coach for the program. 

Schumacher will be promoted to the position of Director of Track and Field Operations, and Huffacker will be named Associate Director of Track and Field Operations as well as remain head cross country coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. 

Under Schumacher’s leadership the Titans have won four national championships. 
Photo: IWU Track & Field via Facebook 

The target date for the new head coach’s first day will be January 4 of 2021. 

Schumacher says the new position will allow for more focus on recruiting and improve the coach to athlete ratio of the teams. 

His and Huffacker’s positions working with both the men’s and women’s track and field teams will not be affected. 

Along with his excitement for the new coach, Schumacher is very excited for the new outdoor track, which is set to be done in the summer of 2021.  

“Given COVID, I was floored. But the track is really five years past the time to be replaced, and when it is done we will have the best indoor and outdoor facilities in the CCIW” Schumacher said. 

The new track will also mean the team can host outdoor home meets which will ultimately save the program money by requiring fewer travel expenses. 

“It is an honor to coach student-athletes who are passionate about being at IWU. We also have a tremendous family atmosphere in the athletic department. There might be bigger or more expensive facilities, but there is no place like Shirk” Schumacher said.

He looks forward to the addition of the new coach to the program.

“There might be bigger or more expensive facilities, but there is no place like Shirk,” Schumacher said. 

“Part of the track family at IWU is the strong chemistry between the two programs from supporting each other in practice and meets to studying together, to eating at saga. The coaching staff is very similar in that we all work together to better serve both teams” Schumacher said.

He hopes for the program to continue to succeed, take home CCIW titles and send as many athletes to nationals as possible. 

“This is a crazy, unprecedented time and I feel very fortunate that the university is moving forward with these two huge changes. I am excited to begin the search process for the new coach” Schumacher said.