Matt Beisel officially began his duties as head coach of the Concordia University cross country and track and field programs on June 1, 2016, after being announced as a staff member on May 13. Beisel is a 1992 graduate of Concordia.
Beisel earned major honors in 2019 when he was named the GPAC Women's Track & Field Coach of the Year for both indoor and outdoor. He was also tabbed the NAIA Midwest Region Women's Coach of the Year for indoor and outdoor by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Beisel took home such awards while guiding the women's program to a sweep of GPAC indoor/outdoor championships. The men also placed as the GPAC indoor runners up. On the national level, the women turned in NAIA place finishes of ninth for indoor and fifth for outdoor. The men checked in at No. 9 at the NAIA indoor championships.
In his first season leading the track and field programs, Beisel helped guide the Bulldogs to men's national finishes of second for indoor and fifth for outdoor. Meanwhile, the Concordia women turned in national finishes of seventh for indoor and sixth for outdoor. Concordia athletes produced a total of 29 All-America awards, six national titles and 19 GPAC event championships. The men placed as the runner up at both the indoor and outdoor GPAC championships. The Bulldogs then claimed 11 All-America honors and two individual national titles in 2018. The All-America count rose to 37 in 2019 as both programs took a step forward. Beisel also coached Emily Sievert to national championships appearances in cross country in 2016 and 2017. Another distance performer, Taylor Grove won the GPAC 10,000 meter (2018) and 3,000 meter (2019) titles and qualified for nationals in the marathon in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Beisel, who spent six years (2008 – 2013) as head track and field coach at Concordia University-Chicago (CUC), where he also served four years as assistant cross country coach, possesses 21 years of coaching experience. He shifted back to the collegiate ranks after having been the head track and field and cross country coach as well as a science teacher at Valley Lutheran High School in Phoenix, Ariz., since 2014.
A former all-district runner and national qualifier as a Bulldog, Beisel represents an ideal fit at Concordia. In each of his previous coaching stops he’s built Christ-centered programs that improved tremendously under his guidance. Beisel inherited an NCAA Division III CUC track program of just 12 athletes. That number grew to 65 (largest roster in school history) by the end of his tenure. The three-time Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) Coach of the Year guided the Cougar women to league titles in 2010 and 2012 and a runner-up finish at the 2012 outdoor conference meet. He coached 56 conference champions at CUC.
While at CUC, Beisel helped develop Antwon James into an All-American long jumper. As head coach of the Cougars, Beisel worked specifically with sprinters and relays groups and as high jump coach. He’s spent many years avidly studying and coaching speed and power development of athletes, as well as mechanics.
Prior to his time at CUC, Beisel won three cross country state championships as head coach from 2000 – 2007 at Lutheran High School in Little Rock, Ark. His boys and girls teams swept Arkansas cross country state titles in 2003. Beisel’s Lutheran High cross country and track programs recorded a total of seven top-five state championships finishes.
Everywhere he’s been, Beisel has increased participation in cross country and track. At his most recent position at Valley Lutheran, he more than doubled the boys and girls numbers in two years. In his first season leading girls cross country in Phoenix, Beisel took the team to its first-ever state championships appearance in 2014. It then placed 10th in the state in 2015.
Beisel graduated from Concordia with a B.S. in education. He went on to earn his M.S. in science education from the University of Iowa in 1997. Matt and his wife Jill have a daughter, Keegan, and son, Jonah.
Hometown: Littleton, Colo. Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska
Mark Samuels completed his 12th season as an assistant coach for the Concordia University track and field program in 2018-19. Samuels works primarily with sprints, hurdles, middle distance and relays. He has helped the Bulldogs win team national titles in 2015 (men's outdoor) and 2016 (women's outdoor) and to a combined eight GPAC team championships. He also works with the cross country teams.
During his tenure, Samuels has worked with numerous GPAC champions, All-Americans and national champions. The latest examples include multi-event GPAC champions Lucas Wiechman (2017) and Cody Williams (2018, 2019). Wiechman earned GPAC Performer of the Year for both indoor and outdoor in 2017. Williams did the same at the 2019 GPAC outdoor championships. In addition, Samuels helped tutor Jessica Deterding (pentathlon, heptathlon) and the women's 4x400 meter relays to school records in 2019.
Samuels has been on staff for an unprecedented run of success for a program that's roster has grown significantly in recent seasons. Since Samuels joined the staff, Concordia has posted 19 combined top 10 national team finishes and 36 total top 25 national team finishes, in addition to the two team national championships.
Samuels competed at Concordia from 2001-04. He was a four-time NAIA All-American and a four-time GPAC Champion. Samuels was the 2002 National Runner-Up in the 400 meter dash at the Indoor National Meet. For his efforts, Samuels was named 2002 GPAC Indoor Men’s Athlete-of-the-Year. He holds five school records including individual indoor records in the 200 meter dash and 400 meter dash. He was also a member of record setting 4x400 meter relay teams in both indoor and outdoor seasons (relay records have since been broken).
Mark resides in Seward with his wife Kari, daughter Jordyn, son Landon and daughter Aspen. In his spare time, Mark enjoys fishing, cycling and running.