|Alma Mater:||New Mexico|
Matt Kraft will be entering his eighth season with the Red Wolves in the fall of 2014 and has had a tremendous impact in developing a very competitive throwing program from the ground-up since joining A-State Track & Field in October 2007.
In his time at A-State, Kraft has produced two NCAA All-Americans, nine Sun Belt Conference (SBC) champions, 13 NCAA Preliminary Championship qualifiers, 23 All-SBC performers, six school record holders and 40 incursions into A-State's top-10 all-time performance lists.
The 2014 season has been the high point in terms of achievement for the A-State throwers, with two All-American performances in two different events.
During the indoor season, Richie Chavez distinguished himself as the best shot putter in Arkansas State history. His best performance in the shot during the 2014 indoor season was 20.06m/65-9.75, which shattered a 15 year old school record by more than five feet. Richie won his first Sun Belt Conference title in the shot put at the championship meet in Birmingham, Alabama in February, and capped off his season with a sixth place finish at the NCAA Indoor National Championships with a throw of 19.47m/63-10.5. His performance earned him First-Team All-America honors, a first for an A-State shot putter. Richie redshirted the 2014 outdoor season, but his indoor season best performance was the 19th ranked mark in the entire U.S. and qualified him to throw at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Richie was able to compete against the best in the country in a specially constructed shot put venue on the lawn in front of the steps of the California State Capitol building in Sacramento in late June.
Christopher Nicasio was the second Red Wolf thrower in 2014 to earn a berth to the NCAA National Championships, this time during the outdoor season. Christopher was the runner-up at the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Championships in the hammer throw and then qualified for the NCAA Championship meet by throwing the 7th best hammer mark of 62.58m/205-4, a season best, at the West Preliminary Championship meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nicasio finished his career in Eugene, Oregon, having earned Honorable-Mention All-American status in the hammer throw.
Under Kraft's direction, the 2013 and 2012 seasons were also banner years for the Red Wolves in the throwing events.
2013 season highlights:
* Julia Agawu -- Indoor SBC weight throw champion, Indoor SBC runner-up shot put, school record weight throw 19.31m/63-4.25, third consecutive SBC discus championship, SBC Outdoor Championship discus throw meet record and school record 54.59m/179-1, SBC runner-up hammer throw, ASU outdoor shot put school record, ASU hammer throw school record, NCAA West Preliminary Championship qualifier in discus and hammer.
* Christopher Nicasio -- Indoor SBC weight throw champion, second consecutive SBC hammer throw championship, SBC Outdoor Championship hammer throw meet record 62.45m/204-11, NCAA West Preliminary Championship qualifier in hammer.
* Richie Chavez -- All-SBC discus, NCAA West Preliminary Championship qualifier in shot put.
2012 season highlights:
* Christopher Nicasio -- SBC hammer throw champion, SBC Outdoor Championship hammer throw meet record 61.84m/202-11, NCAA West Preliminary Championship qualifier in hammer throw.
* Richie Chavez -- Outdoor SBC runner-up shot put, ASU outdoor shot put record 18.43m/60.5.75, NCAA West Preliminary Championship qualifier in shot put.
* Julia Agawu -- All-SBC third place weight throw, ASU weight throw record 18.53m/60-9.5, SBC discus champion, two-time SBC discus champion, All-SBC third place hammer throw, ASU hammer throw record 56.53m/185-5, NCAA West Preliminary Championship qualifier in discus.
Prior to A-State, Kraft served as an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico as a volunteer in charge of the throwing program.
In his five years (2003-07) at New Mexico, the Lobos throwers won two Mountain West Conference titles and produced nine all-conference performances. His throwers also qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships 13 times with one automatic qualifier to the national championships. In all, Kraft’s student-athletes rewrote five University of New Mexico school records.
“It has been my goal for the throws at A-State to be a dynamic program that is a dominant force in the Sun Belt Conference that can help the team win conference championships," said Kraft. "I also consider it a vital part of my duty as a coach to be a mentor to the young men and women I work with and help them develop not just athletically, but also personally. We will pursue excellence in all that we do, and our athletes are confident that in the way we train, they will definitely develop and improve.”
Kraft’s experience in the throwing events began when he threw at Colorado State University under nationally-respected throwing coach Brian Bedard in the early 1990’s. He has also had the opportunity to work directly with legendary throwing coach Art Venegas of UCLA.
Prior to his stint at New Mexico, Kraft spent six years in the United States Army and as a NCO was responsible for the training, health, welfare, development and preparedness of soldiers under his charge. He also served as a flight instructor for enlisted helicopter crewmember training.
Kraft is a 2003 graduate of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a 4.02 grade point average.
In 2007, Kraft received his Master of Science degree from the University of New Mexico in Physical Education with specialization in Sports Administration. He graduated with a cumulative 4.05 gpa.
Kraft and wife Tanjia, who hails from Germany, have two daughters, Cailin and Elise, and a son, Logan.
|Arkansas State, Assistant Coach||2007-present|
|New Mexico, Volunteer Assistant Coach||2003-07|
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