SEWARD, Neb. – After 24 years leading nationally-prominent cross country and track and field programs, Dr. Kregg Einspahr will shift into a full-time teaching role within the science department at Concordia University, as announced on Thursday (April 21). The 1982 Concordia graduate will finish out the 2016 outdoor track and field season as head coach before stepping away from his post. Einspahr has been teaching courses in biology along with his coaching duties at Concordia since 1992.
The Concordia athletics department has initiated a national search to find Einspahr’s replacement. Current full-time track and field assistants Ed McLaughlin and Mark Samuels remain on staff. Bulldog cross country and track and field athletes were notified of Einspahr’s decision on Thursday (April 21) afternoon.
A member of both the NAIA and Concordia Athletic Halls of Fame, the decision to leave the coaching profession was a difficult one for the 2015 NAIA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field National Coach of the Year. Einspahr is the longest tenured head coach at Concordia.
Einspahr departs from the athletic department with an impeccable résumé. Last year he added the only thing missing from his distinguished career – a team national title. The 2015 Bulldog men’s outdoor track and field squad was the first in any sport in Concordia’s history to capture a national championship. In addition, since becoming head coach in 1992, Einspahr has guided his cross country and track and field programs to a combined six national runner-up finishes and 16 conference titles (nine cross country, seven track and field). He has been named GPAC coach of the year 19 times.
Einspahr’s cross country programs have long been recognized as powerhouses within the NAIA. Every year from 1994 to 2013, the Concordia men, women or both qualified for the national championships. His women’s cross country program went on an unprecedented run from 2000-02 when it was the national runner up three years in a row and then again in 2004. His cross country teams claimed 12 total top-10 national finishes and 32 top-25 finishes. His runners won individual GPAC titles a total of 16 times. He received NAIA women’s cross country national coach of the year honors in 1999.
In recent years, the Bulldog track and field programs have ascended to new heights. Not only did the men win the 2015 outdoor national title, Concordia enters the 2016 outdoor championships with three-straight top-five national men’s finishes and two top-five national placements in a row on the women’s side. The Bulldog men have won three GPAC championships in recent years (2014 indoor and outdoor and 2015 outdoor). The women claimed both conference crowns in 2010 and then one more in 2012 (outdoor). Einspahr’s 24-year run has harbored 25 individual track and field national titlists. His current outdoor teams are ranked second (women) and third (men) nationally in this week’s ratings.
Prior to his coaching career, Einspahr shined as one of the top athletes in Concordia’s history. He won six individual NAIA track national titles, including three in the steeplechase. He also competed in three Olympic trials. The Lincoln Journal Star named him one of its Nebraska state college athletes of the century in December 1999. He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1982.
Einspahr earned his bachelor’s degree from Concordia in biology. He proceeded to attain a master’s in biology (emphasis in human physiology) from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and cell physiology from the University of Texas. He then served a post-doctoral fellowship in immunology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Statement from Rev. Dr. Brian Friedrich, President and Chief Executive Officer
Coach Einspahr has been the heart and soul of the Concordia University, Nebraska cross country and track and field programs for 24 years. Beginning with a handful of athletes and a cinder track, Coach Einspahr has built premier programs and facilities that have moved our teams into perennial championship contenders at both the GPAC and NAIA levels. We celebrate all of Kregg’s accomplishments, especially the profound impact he has had on a generation of student-athletes he recruited and coached during his coaching tenure at Concordia.
He steps aside as the most decorated Bulldog coach in history. He is a giant who will be very difficult to replace. However, we are thankful he will remain on the faculty of the university and will be able to increase his time in the classroom. Dr. Einspahr is a tremendous scholar as his Ph.D at the University of Texas in biochemistry and cell physiology and post-doctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic testify. We are excited that he will dedicate his efforts to full-time classroom instruction and research. Today the entire Concordia community pauses to thank God for this selfless servant as he transitions to a new role of service to his alma mater.
Statement from Devin Smith, Director of Athletics
This is a very difficult time knowing that one of the most decorated coaches in the history of Concordia University, Nebraska has decided to step away from coaching. Coach Einspahr had the opportunity to accept a role as a full-time professor in the science department. While the loss is a significant one for our athletic department, we are grateful that he will continue to serve our campus. We are also thankful and appreciative of all the lives that Coach Einspahr has touched during his coaching tenure. It will be very difficult to find someone that will match the same characteristics and success of Coach Einspahr. It is our aim as members of athletic leadership to recruit another high quality leader for our cross country and track programs. We’ve positioned our programs to be GPAC and national contenders in the NAIA and we know that we have a difficult job ahead of us. We also know that we have a lot of great resources in place to attract someone to continue Coach Einspahr’s legacy.
Kregg Einspahr: notable coaching honors
*Pre-GPAC honors not listed
-2007 NAIA Region III women’s coach of the year
-2005 NAIA Region III men’s coach of the year
-2005 NAIA Region III women’s coach of the year
-2004 NAIA Region III men’s coach of the year
-2004 NAIA Region III women’s coach of the year
-2003 NAIA Regions III and IV coach of the year
-1999 NAIA women’s cross country national coach of the year
GPAC coach of the year (7)
TRACK & FIELD
-2015 NAIA men’s outdoor national coach of the year
-2015 Omaha World-Herald midlands college coach of the year
-2015 Lincoln Journal Star state college coach of the year
-2002 NAIA region III and IV indoor coach of the year
GPAC coach of the year (12)
-2015 men’s outdoor
-2014 men’s outdoor
-2014 men’s indoor
-2012 women’s outdoor
-2010 women’s outdoor
-2010 women’s indoor
-2009 men’s outdoor
-2009 women’s outdoor
-2009 women’s indoor
-2008 men’s outdoor
-2005 women’s outdoor
-2003 women’s indoor