McPherson College Athletics Director Andrew Ehling has announced the resignation of Robert Spies, head track and field coach. He will be leaving McPherson College to become the next head track and field coach at Hutchinson Community College.
Spies joined the Bulldog track and field program during the 2013-14 school year as an assistant coach, coming from Bethany College, where he was the head coach of the Swedes’ track and field program the previous three seasons. He got his start in coaching at the Virginia Military Institute. While at VMI he was part of the strength and conditioning staff. From there he moved on to a stint at Pittsburg State University as the sprints and relays coach.
He got his first head coaching job in 2007 at Fort Scott Community College. He spent the next three seasons at the helm of FSCC’s cross country and track and field teams. From there he landed at Bethany, where he was also in charge of both cross country and track and field. In 2013, he followed his wife Ermelinda, who was already working for the Bulldogs as an assistant coach, to McPherson College and became an assistant coach, in charge of sprinters, hurdlers, pole vault, and throwers.
During the 2015-16 season, he was promoted to interim head coach, and in the fall of 2016 was given the job on a permanent basis. During his tenure with the Bulldogs, Coach Spies won five KCAC championships. The men and women both won the outdoor championships in 2014 during his first year as an assistant. Then the men won the indoor championships in 2017, and the outdoor championships in 2017 and 2018 with Spies as the head coach.
In addition to the team success the Bulldogs enjoyed under Spies, they also garnered many individual accolades. Spies coached one national champion, A.J. Hop in the pole vault in 2017, 88 national qualifiers and 35 NAIA All-Americans. The athletes under his direction have broken more than 60 school records and have garnered 78 KCAC individual event champions. He was named KCAC Coach of the Year three times (2016, 2017, 2018), and was voted McPherson College Coach of the Year by the student athletes in 2018 and 2019.
“I want to thank McPherson College and the athletic department for the opportunity to serve the college and all individuals involved,” Spies said. “Additionally, I have enjoyed the nearly six years of time at Mac and I have appreciated the fellowship with faculty and with the staff. The decision to move on has been difficult for our family due to our deep investment in the college and community. Above all, we will dearly miss the support staff and our college’s student athletes.”
“I would like to thank Robert for his dedication to the student athletes in the Bulldog track and field programs the past six years," Ehling said. "He leaves behind a legacy of excellence and we wish him and his family well in this next phase of life.”
An active search for the next Bulldog track and field coach, is currently underway.