Jim Patchell, a seven-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year, is in his ninth season in 2019-20 directing the Arkansas State University men's & women's cross country and track & field programs.
Coach Patchell oversees the entire Track and Field and Cross Country programs and specifically coaches the horizontal jumps, long sprints, and middle distance athletes.
Since Patchell's arrival to his alma mater, the Red Wolves have a combined eight conference titles between men’s and women’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field. The first of the eight championships was special as women’s cross country won its first Sun Belt Conference crown in 2013. The women’s squad also won the indoor conference title in 2013. The women were crowned outdoor champions in 2015, the first outdoor title since 2001, and followed with the outdoor crown at the home track in 2019. The A-State men won their first indoor championship under Patchell in 2015, the first indoor title for the program since 2007 and earned a second men’s indoor title in 2018. The men won the outdoor title in 2016, the first since 2005, and were also crowned outdoor champions in 2018 becoming the first A-State men’s team to win both indoor and outdoor conference titles in the same season since the 1989 American South Conference titles.
During Patchell’s tenure, A-State has established 45 program records in men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track. In that span, the Red Wolves also have 155 top-five marks and 147 additional performances ranked inside the top-10. Since 2014, A-State has earned 20 Sun Belt Conference Indoor/Outdoor postseason awards including most outstanding athlete, most outstanding field athlete and most outstanding freshman. In that span, A-State has had 13 individuals qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships while 97 have qualified for the NCAA Outdoor West Regional with 30 advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The Red Wolves have seen success at the NCAA Championships under Patchell’s guidance. Sharika Nelvis (2011-14) became A-State's first women's individual national champion and was a top three finalist for The Bowerman Trophy, also an A-State and Sun Belt Conference first. A three-time USTFCCA All-America hurdler-sprinter, Nelvis was both the 2014 NCAA Division I outdoor national 100-meter hurdles champion and indoor national 60-meter hurdles champion. In total, A-State has seen 34 athletes earn USTFCCCA All-America honors since Patchell took over the program, 21 outdoors and 13 indoors.
Boasting a men’s and women’s roster of primarily underclassmen, Patchell guided the A-State programs to first or second in the team standings both indoors and outdoors for the men’s and women’s team championships. The A-State women earned the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Championship with 88 of the 155 points scored coming from freshmen and sophomores. A-State sent a combined 16 athletes to the NCAA West Region Preliminary with three, two men and one woman, advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Pole vaulter Michael Carr broke Earl Bell’s 1976 school record with a clearance of 5.67m (18-7.25) to finish sixth for First Team All-America honors. Sophomore Carter Shell made his second-straight appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and finished 14th for Second Team All-America honors. On the track, Caitland Smith capped her career earning All-America honors in both the 100 and 200-meter dash.
The 2017-18 season saw the Red Wolves men earn both the indoor and outdoor conference title for the second time in program history. Sprinter Jaylen Bacon capped off his stellar career as a five-time All-America honoree and nine-time Sun Belt Conference individual champion. Bacon was recognized as the USTFCCCA 2018 NCAA Division I South Central Region Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year joining Sharika Nelvis (2014) as the only A-State student-athletes to win that honor. Bacon was among a single-season program-record seven athletes that advanced to the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Bacon was among 13 individual conference champions as the Red Wolves accounted for eight outdoor individual champions and five indoors.
A-State sent a then-school record six individuals to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2017. All six earned All-America status with Bacon taking first team honors in both the 100 and 200-meter dash. Bacon and thrower Erin Farmer also earned All-America honors indoors in the 2017 season. Bacon’s bronze medal finish in the 60-meter dash at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships marked just the second podium finish by an A-State male athlete at those championships.
For the first time since 2005, A-State claimed the 2016 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship. Bacon, the Sun Belt Most Outstanding Track Athlete, was the high point scorer with 22.5 points while Roelf Pienaar won the Sun Belt Most Outstanding Field Athlete for his gold medals in both the long and triple jumps. The Red Wolves saw 14 athletes, eight men and six women, qualify for the NCAA West Region Preliminary with four, two men and two women, advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Pienaar took silver medal in the long jump for the highest finish by an A-State athlete since 1990.
The 2015 season saw many firsts for the A-State program. The women won their first outdoor conference title since 2001 while the men claimed an indoor conference crown for the first time since 2007. Pienaar and thrower Richard Chvez earned All-America honors both indoors and outdoors while pole vaulter Ethan Sandusky garnered All-America accolades outdoors. A-State swept the Most Outstanding Freshmen and Pienaar was named Sun Belt Conference Most Outstanding Field Performer both indoors and outdoors.
Highlighted by two National Championships by Nelvis, the 2014 season saw the Red Wolves burst onto the national scene. Nelvis a finalist for the prestigious Bowerman Trophy, was a NCAA Woman of the Year nominee and winner of the Honda Sports Award as the top women’s track and field athlete. Nelvis ended her career as a 24-time Sun Belt Conference individual champion winning 13 indoor titles and 11 outdoors.
Responsible for building the track and field program at Campbell into one of the best in the Atlantic Sun Conference, Patchell led the Camels men’s team to at least a third-place finish each of the last five years at the conference outdoor championships. He also led the men’s squad to a third-place finish the last three years at the conference’s indoor championships while the women’s team collected fourth place in 2010.
Over his final five seasons at Campbell, 47 Camels won A-Sun championships in an individual event, including 10 in 2011. During Patchell’s eight-year tenure as head coach at Campbell, the Camels broke 44 school records. His student-athletes performed well in the classroom as well, recording a 99% graduation rate. He was also instrumental in a fund-raising campaign for a new $1.2 million track and field facility that was completed in May 2010.
Prior to his time at Campbell, Patchell spent the previous three years (2000-03) as an assistant coach at Tulane. While at Tulane, Patchell coached both the men's and women's jumpers, hurdlers and multi-event athletes for each of his three seasons, helping to elevate the Green Wave to a national ranking. He also assumed responsibility for the cross country program and distance events during the 2002-03 campaign.
He helped lead Tulane to two Conference USA team championships, and the Green Wave sent 12 student-athletes to the NCAA Championships during his tenure. Patchell also coached two All-America selections at Tulane.
A native of Heber Springs, Ark., Patchell also served as men's assistant track coach at Arkansas from 1996-99, coaching pole vaulters and multi-event athletes. He finished up coaching at UA in the spring of 1999 before exclusively teaching exercise science in the fall of 1999. During his tenure with the Razorbacks, Arkansas won seven national championships - one in cross country, three in indoor track, and three in outdoor track.
Patchell graduated from Arkansas State in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in exercise science. While at A-State, he was a sprinter and hurdler for the track and field team under head coach Jay Flanagan. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1994 and assisted with the training and coaching of sprinters and hurdlers. Patchell earned his M.S. in exercise science from Arkansas State in 1995.
Patchell then moved on to Arkansas, where in addition to his coaching duties, he served as a graduate instructor in the physical education department while working on a doctorate degree. Patchell completed his Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the University of Arkansas in December of 2007.
He is married to the former Dawn Politte and they have one son, Lane.
Patchell's Goals For ASU Cross Country and Track Programs
* Top 25 national ranking on an annual basis
* Contend for every Sun Belt Conference Championship and win share of titles
* Develop and recruit quality student-athletes who excel both academically and athletically
|Arkansas State, Head Coach||2011-present|
|Campbell, Head Coach||2003-11|
|Tulane, Assistant Coach||2000-03|
|Arkansas, Assistant Coach||1996-99|
|Arkansas State, Graduate Assistant Coach||1994-95|
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