Pitt State’s Jewett retires as head coach of track and field, cross country programs

Russ Jewett is a 46X MIAA Coach of the Year at Pittsburg State.
Web Jewett

PITTSBURG, Kan. – One of the most decorated coaches in MIAA Track and Field history is calling it a career.

Pitt State’s Russ Jewett has announced he will retire from his coaching positions with the track and field and cross country teams. He will stay with the school as a Senior Associate Athletic Director for the Gorillas.

Jewett is a 46X MIAA Coach of the Year between the two sports since starting at Pitt State in 1986.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University head cross country and track & field coach Russ Jewett announced today (June 4) that he will retire from his coaching positions leading his alma mater.

Jewett, who has additionally served in the athletic department administration since 1989, will remain in his role as a Senior Associate Athletic Director for Pitt State Athletics.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as cross country and track & field coach of the Gorillas,” Jewett said. “I am proud to be part of the strong tradition that our athletes, coaches, and alumni value greatly.  Pitt State is truly an amazing place, and I am blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many exceptional student-athletes, coaches, administrators, faculty and staff over the years. I have loved being a coach, and I know I will miss it. However, I look forward to assisting the program in other ways and being able to spend more time with family.”

Jewett assumed the position of head women’s cross country coach in 1986, head men’s and women’s track & field coach in 1987 and head men’s cross country coach in 1989.

In cross country, Jewett has led the PSU women to 11 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athleitcs Association titles – including the past three MIAA Championships (2017-19) – and 13 trips to the NCAA Division II National Championships. While the PSU men have not garnered an MIAA title, the Gorillas have made five NCAA Division II National Championships appearances, including three straight trips from 2007-09.

In track & field, Jewett has guided the Gorilla men to 13 MIAA outdoor titles, including four in a row from 2012-15, and seven MIAA indoor crowns. He has led the Pitt State women to 12 MIAA outdoor titles, including five straight championships (2015-19), as well as seven MIAA indoor championships (three straight, 2017-19).

Jewett guided the women’s program to the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championship – the first national championship in women’s program history. He was named the 2016 NCAA Division II Women’s Outdoor National Coach of the Year following the season.

Jewett followed up that national crown by leading the men’s program to the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship, hosted by Pitt State at the Robert W. Plaster Center  – the first national championship in men’s program history. He was named the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Indoor National Coach of the Year following that season as well.

Additionally, he garnered NCAA Division II Women’s Indoor National Coach of the Year accolades in 1995; and Jewett has been honored as MIAA Coach of the Year 46 times since PSU joined the league in 1989, more than any other conference coach during that span. Most recently he was named the 2021 MIAA Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year after leading the Gorillas to a pair of conference crowns this year.

The women’s cross country team has captured MIAA titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The PSU women own MIAA outdoor titles from 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2004, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The Gorilla women also garnered MIAA indoor titles in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

His men’s track & field squad captured the MIAA outdoor titles in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2021.  PSU also has won MIAA indoor titles in 1993, 1995, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2021.

In addition to team success, Gorilla track & field and cross country student-athletes have earned NCAA Division II All-America honors on more than 300 occasions under Jewett, including 36 individual event national champions in the sports.

In men’s track & field, the Gorillas have placed among the top 25 teams in NCAA Division II in 24 of 31 outdoor seasons under Jewett (26 times, indoors). PSU has placed among the top 10 teams 10 times during the outdoor season including fourth-place finishes in 1999 and 2021 and fifth-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. The Gorillas have seven top 10 indoor finishes including a third-place finish in 1995, a fifth-place finish in 2021, a sixth-place finish in 2000 and the national championship in 2018.

In women’s track & field, PSU has placed among the top 25 teams in NCAA Division II 23 times in the last 31 outdoor seasons (19 times, indoors). The Gorillas have seven top 10 outdoor finishes including a fifth-place finish in 2015, the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championship and a fourth-place finish in 2017. Pitt State has seven top 10 indoor finishes including back-to-back fourth-place finishes (2016-17) and a fifth-place finish in 2018.

A native of Olathe, Kan., Jewett graduated cum laude from PSU in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics. He was a three-time CSIC champion hurdler and an All-American decathlete in 1982, placing second at the NAIA Outdoor National Championships.

Jewett served as the chair of the NCAA Division II Track & Field Committee from 2005-06.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Coach Jewett for his service to Pittsburg State and the championship caliber program he has fostered over more than three decades leading the Gorillas cross country and track & field programs,” PSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Johnson said. “He also played an instrumental role in the development and construction of the Plaster Center. We wish him all the best and know the future remains bright for the Pitt State cross country and track & field programs. He will continue to assist in the athletic department in a part-time role over the next two years. His focus will be on special projects related to facilities and former letterwinner outreach.”

Please stay tuned in the coming days to pittstategorillas.com and the Gorillas social media accounts for additional information about the future of the Pitt State cross country and track & field programs.