New University of Utah head women's cross country, track & field coach Kyle Kepler
July 22, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY - University of Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill has announced the hiring of Kyle Kepler as the Utes' head women's cross country and track & field coach.
Kepler comes to Utah from the University of Northern Iowa, where he served as head men's and women's cross country coach and as an assistant track and field coach for the past two years. He was on staff with UNI for seven years, serving as an assistant cross country coach for five years prior to being named head coach in 2003. Kepler will assume his duties at Utah on August 8.
"I'm extremely excited about this opportunity," Kepler said. "This is a big step in my career. I want to set the standard high and achieve as many of our goals as we can. I think the program at Utah has a ton of potential. Given the right leadership and motivation, I think our student-athletes can be very successful. All the programs at the University of Utah have raised the bar in the past few years. The staff and I want our women to do that with the cross country and track & field programs."
"We're very happy to have Kyle joining our staff," Dr. Hill said. "We had numerous highly-qualified applicants for this position. Coach Kepler's credentials are very strong and we're very confident in his ability to lead our women's cross country and track & field teams."
Kepler was named the Missouri Valley Conference Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003. The Panthers have won 12 MVC titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field during his tenure on the UNI coaching staff. Kepler has coached nine NCAA Division I All-America athletes and has had 15 of his athletes qualify for the NCAA Cross Country or Track and Field Championships. He served as the meet director for the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships and Pre-Nationals meet. Kepler was also named the meet director of the annual A. D. Dickinson Relays, one of the largest high school indoor meets in the nation.
Kepler was a varsity athlete at Northern Iowa. He took part in both cross country and track and field for the Panthers, serving as a team captain during the 1997-98 school year. As an athlete, Kepler was a member of five MVC championship teams. He earned all-conference honors nine times during his collegiate career, was a two-time all-region selection and a six-time Academic All-Missouri Valley Conference honoree.
Kepler holds both master's and bachelor's degrees from the University of Northern Iowa. He earned his master's degree in physical education in 2004 and graduated with a bachelor's in secondary education-geography in 1998.
In addition, Coach Kepler has announced that Tapio Kuusela will remain on the Ute staff as an assistant coach with the track and field program. Kuusela has coached the Ute throwers for the past four years. He served as the interim co-head track and field coach in 2005. Under Kuusela's direction, Utah has produced three national and regional qualifiers, along with one Mountain West Conference champion. Numerous school records have been broken by Kuusela's throwers over the past four seasons.
National searches for three other coaching positions with Utah cross country and track & field are currently under way. One full-time and two graduate assistant coaching positions are currently being advertised by the University.