SEWARD, Neb. – Matt Beisel is set to make a return to his alma mater. The 1992 Concordia College graduate has been named head cross country and track and field coach, as announced by the Concordia University athletic department on Friday (May 13). Beisel fills the vacancy left by Kregg Einspahr, who will move to a full-time teaching role within the science department at the conclusion of this outdoor season. Einspahr has led the Bulldogs cross country and track programs since 1992.
Beisel’s coaching staff will include current full-time assistants Ed McLaughlin and Mark Samuels. Beisel will officially begin his duties as head coach on June 1.
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’s shifting 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.
Wrote Beisel in a statement, “My wife Jill and I are extremely grateful to Director of Athletics Devin Smith, Associate Director of Athletics Angela Muller, Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics Gene Brooks and President Rev. Dr. Brian Friedrich for their time, attention and support as we visited and worked through the decision-making process. I am honored to accept the call to take over programs that gave so much to me, and give back to the institution and the student-athletes it serves as I lead this program into the future. I believe that if Christ is first in our lives, everything else falls into place. This conviction has affected my personal life and shaped my philosophy in working with students and athletes for decades.”
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.
Under Einspahr, Concordia’s cross country and track and field programs have won a total of 16 conference titles. The two-time NAIA national coach of the year and 19-time GPAC coach of the year led the 2015 men’s outdoor squad to the first-ever team national title in school history. He’s also overseen six team national runner-up finishes and a total of 25 individual track and field national titlists.
Statement from Devin Smith, Director of Athletics
Matt Beisel is the epitome of our Bulldog Nation in terms of our mission, vision, and core values. He is the right person at the right time for our cross country and track and field programs as one who will continue to build upon the successes that Coach Einspahr developed here at Concordia. I am so thankful that our student-athletes can have an experience that allows Coach Beisel and the current assistants to strive for excellence in the areas of academic achievement, spiritual and character development, as well as competitive greatness.
More from Beisel
As a graduating team captain for Concordia track & field in 1992, I interviewed Coach Einspahr as he was considering the position. As an alum, I’ve closely followed the many great accomplishments of Concordia cross country and track and have felt pride as I saw the ‘old gym’ and cinder track transformed into what we have now. As a Bulldog I loved my experience here, and was profoundly and positively affected while being equipped to serve Christ. With Christ as the main focus of a program, athletes and staff grow in their faith. A growth in faith combined with consistent team-building activities leads to a group of student-athletes who see their teammates as more important than themselves. The whole team gets better when an athlete knows their teammates and coaches care about them, and work harder to achieve their individual goals. In this environment, the lives of all involved are forever changed. When this team atmosphere is backed by solid recruiting, a natural outcome is worldly success. At the same time, championships are only icing on the cake of an already successful season.