Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska
Matt Beisel officially began his duties as head coach of the Concordia University cross country and track and field programs in June 2016. Beisel is a 1992 graduate of Concordia.
In four seasons as head coach, Beisel has led his programs to considerable heights. Most recently, the Bulldogs won the 2020 GPAC indoor track and field title and placed fourth at NAIA indoor nationals behind 400 meter national champion Rachel Battershell. Beisel is now a four-time GPAC Coach of the Year (2019 women's indoor, 2019 women's outdoor, 2019 women's cross country and 2020 women's indoor) and a three-time NAIA Midwest Region Women's Track & Field Coach of the Year. The women's track and field program has won three-straight GPAC titles while the 2019 women's cross country team broke through with a conference title and 12th-place national claim. Meanwhile, the Concordia men also placed as the 2019 GPAC indoor runners up. On the national level, the women turned in 2019 NAIA place finishes of ninth for indoor and fifth for outdoor. The men checked in at No. 9 at the 2019 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 (12 All-Americans at the 2020 indoor meet). 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: Seward, Neb.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska
Ed McLaughlin completed his 23rd year as a member of the Concordia University track and field coaching staff in 2019-20, serving as an assistant coach and working with the throwers. He also assists with the multi-event athletes and works as game event management for home football.
McLaughlin has tutored 17 individual national champions, 201 individual national qualifiers, 153 All-Americans, 56 GPAC champions and 24 national champion runners up. National titles have been captured by Jacob Cornelio (2020 weight throw) Samantha Liermann (2017, 2018 and 2019 shot put), Adrianna Shaw (2018 and 2019 discus), Zach Lurz (four times in the shot put), Liz King (2016 hammer, 2014 javelin), Cody Boellstorff (2015/2017 hammer, 2016/2017 weight) and Josh Slechta (2015 weight throw). In addition, school throwing records have been broken more than 30 times in McLaughlin's tenure as coach. McLaughlin has earned plenty of recognition during while leading the nationally respected Bulldog throws program. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has named McLaughlin an NAIA National Assistant Coach of the Year six times and an NAIA Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year seven times.
Concordia throwers have been particularly dominant in recent years, leading the Bulldogs to outdoor team national titles in 2015 (men) and 2016 (women), along with National Champion Runner up finishes for the men's team for outdoor (2016) and indoor (2017). The 2017 group combined for four national titles, seven GPAC titles and 20 All-Americans. The 2016 group of throwers combined for four national titles, nine GPAC titles and 34 total All-America awards. The men's team was led by two of the greatest throwers in school history, Lurz and Boellstorff. Lurz's accomplishments included 17 All-America awards, four national titles, school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put, the 2014 GPAC Outdoor Athlete of the year honor, the 2015 NAIA Most Valuable performer award at the 2015 NAIA outdoor national championship and recognition as the 2016 USTFCCCA NAIA National Indoor Field Athlete of the Year and the 2017 USTFCCCA NAIA National Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year. Not to be outdone, Boellstorff was an eight-time All-American with four national titles, the school record holder in the weight throw and hammer throw and four times he received NAIA Field athlete of the week and the 2016 performance of the meet winner for the Indoor National championships. Both finished in the top 10 all time at Concordia in all of their events.
On the women's side, a trio of throwers took over the reins from King. Kali Robb, Tricia Svoboda and Samantha Liermann garnered numerous awards. Robb finished as one of the most decorated female throwers in school history, collecting 10 All-Americans, three national runner-up finishes, four GPAC titles and three NAIA national field athlete of the week awards. She is also No. 2 all time in school history in the shot put and No. 5 in the discus. Svoboda, was a four-time All-American in javelin and discus (national champion runner up in 2016) and a national qualifying hammer and weight thrower. She also won the GPAC title in discus. Liermann, a senior in 2019, concluded her career as a 10-time All-American and four-time GPAC champion, in addition to the three individual national titles.
McLaughlin was a four-year letter winner in both football and track at Concordia. He was the NIAC shot put champion in 1996, a six-time competitor in the NAIA Championship meet and he broke the school record in discus as a freshman.
In football, McLaughlin played on the offensive line and earned All-NIAC honors twice for the Bulldogs. He also was a two-time All-Nebraska selection and earned NAIA Honorable Mention All-America honors in 1996.
McLaughlin completed his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Biology at Concordia University in 1998. He resides in Lincoln with his wife Tasha, their daughter Clara and son Derek.
Hometown: Littleton, Colo.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska
Mark Samuels completed his 13th season as an assistant coach for the Concordia University track and field program in 2019-20. 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 nine 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. Some of 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. Then in 2020, Samuels aided in sophomore Rachel Battershell becoming the GPAC Female Athlete of the Year and the 400 meter national champion.
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 20 combined top 10 national team finishes and 38 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.
Hometown: Steelville, Mo.
Alma Mater: MidAmerica Nazarene University
Wayne Earney was officially announced as Assistant Track & Field Coach (Vertical and Horizontal Jumps)/Director of Track & Field Fund Development in June of 2017. His began his tenure at Concordia that July.
Earney made a profound impact while completing his first season as a Bulldog in 2017-18. Specifically in the jumps, Earney coached national qualifiers in Jessica Deterding, Scott Johnson and Leah Larson. Johnson won a GPAC title in the 2018 indoor triple jump. Earney also worked closely with many other athletes, including standout multi-event national qualifiers such as Blake Becher, Kennedy Mogul and Cody Williams. Mogul won the GPAC pentathlon title in 2020.
In 2019, Larson broke the school's indoor triple jump record and took home an indoor All-America award. Meanwhile, Williams blossomed even further in 2019 by winning a GPAC title in the long jump on his way to GPAC Athlete of the Year honors (Williams won indoor GPAC heptathlon title). Additionally, Deterding broke school records in the pentathlon and heptathlon in 2019. The women's team swept 2019 GPAC indoor/outdoor titles while the men's and women's programs combined for three top 10 national finishes in 2019.
A native of Steelville, Mo., Earney actually began his professional career as a law enforcement officer in Gardner, Kan., before making a transition. He fell in love with the coaching profession, left law enforcement and spent the next nine years as an assistant track coach at Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kan. During his time in Overland Park, Earney helped mentor athletes that won 22 state medals and six state championships.
Earney moved on to Sioux Falls in November 2013 and remained there through the 2017 seasons. In four seasons, Earney coached athletes to 21 all-conference awards, nine provisional national marks, three national qualifying marks, eight school records and two All-America honors. At Sioux Falls, Earney was responsible for all aspects of training, including technical, physical and mental development.
Earney possesses many professional certifications both in coaching and strength and conditioning. He holds a Jumps Specialist Certification and a Track and Field Technical Certification from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. He also owns a Level 1 Coach certification from USA Track & Field.
A national qualifier and two-time all-conference performer in the long jump as a collegiate athlete, Earney received his degree in criminal justice from MidAmerica Nazarene. He earned a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.
Alma Mater: Concordia University, Nebraska
Jason Berry has helped with the Concordia track and field program for many years, working primarily with pole vault. Berry helped the Bulldogs win team national titles in 2015 (outdoor men) and 2016 (outdoor women).
Jason attended Concordia University from 1989-1994. He was a three-time conference champion and a two-time District 11 champion in the pole vault. He qualified for nationals three times and earned Booster Club Athlete-of-the-Week honors three times during the 1993 season.
Since returning to Concordia in 2008, Berry has coached 87 NAIA National Qualifiers, 33 NAIA All-Americans, a national champion, 18 GPAC champions and school record holder Allie Brooks (indoor/outdoor pole vault). Concordia women's pole vaulters went on a run during which they won six conference titles in a row. That dominance resumed in 2019 with Brooks (indoor) and Erin Mapson (outdoor) winning conference titles. Freshman Josie Puelz took the 2020 GPAC title. Lucas Wiechman broke through with a pole vault national title at the 2017 outdoor national championships. In the final NAIA event squad ratings for 2019, the Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in the pole vault for both men and women.
From 1999-2007, Jason was a volunteer assistant coach and meet official at Concordia University. During those years, he helped coach seven NAIA National Champions and dozens of All-Americans and conference champions.
From 1995-1998, Jason was an assistant coach at Illinois Wesleyan University. During that time, he helped with the pole vault and decathlon. He coached six NCAA Division III national qualifiers and three D-III All-Americans in the pole vault.
Beginning in 2001, Berry served as volunteer pole vault coach at Seward High School. He's coached two state champions, including his youngest son Chase (2017), 15 state medalists and 24 state qualifiers during that time.
Berry also organizes the Annual 4th of July Street Pole Vault competition that has been a fixture in the City of Seward’s holiday activities since 1991. He has also helped with the Concordia University Pole Vault Camps since 1999. Additionally, Berry is the Vice President of Bottle Rocket Brewing LLC.
Jason lives in Seward with his wife Julie. They have three sons: Cole, Dalton and Chase. Cole lives in Omaha with his wife Hannah while Dalton and Chase are members of the Concordia track team.
Hometown: Lewiston, Idaho
Alma Mater: Lewis-Clark State College
Kurtis Bonner joined the Concordia University track and field staff as a graduate assistant coach beginning with the 2019-20 academic year. Bonner most recently coached at his alma mater, Lewis-Clark State College of Lewiston, Idaho.
In two years as a coach at Lewis-Clark State, Bonner worked with high jumpers and multi-event athletes. Over that time, he coached 15 NAIA Scholar-Athletes, five national qualifiers and NAIA indoor high jump national champion Tyler Blakeley.
During his athletic career, Bonner qualified for nationals twice in the heptathlon and once in the decathlon and was a four-time Frontier Conference Field Athlete of the Week. He posted personal bests of 2.0 meters in the high jump and 4,467 points in the heptathlon. Bonner graduated from Lewis-Clark State with a bachelor of science in business administration and with a minor in psychology. He is pursuing a masters of art in school counseling from Concordia.
Kurtis is the son of Misty. He has a sister named Kati. Kurtis enjoys going to movies, running trails, bird-watching and spelunking.