Jim Knapp
Position: Head Coach
Jim Knapp
Courtesy: -
Release: 12/11/2006

Veteran head coach Jim Knapp enters his 24th season in charge of the Central Michigan University men’s track and field program.

Knapp led the team to its third Mid-American Conference outdoor championship in four years in 2006, earning MAC Coach of the Year honors for the eighth time in his successful career.

Knapp guided CMU through a banner year in 2005 as the Chippewas won their first MAC indoor championship and then followed that up with another title outdoors. For his efforts, Knapp was named MAC Coach of the Year for both the indoor and outdoor seasons along with being named USTFCCCA Regional Coach of the Year during the indoor season and District Coach of the Year outdoors.

CMU dominated the field indoors in 2005, garnering 10 first- or second-place finishes and sweeping the individual honors at the meet. Pierre Vinson and Dave Ernsberger shared Most Valuable Performer honors, while Jacob Friess earned the meet’s Most Outstanding Performance award. The Chippewas were even more impressive in cruising to the outdoor crown, racking up 17 first- and second-place finishes. Again, the Chippewas swept the individual awards at the meet. Steve Wolf was named the Most Valuable Performer and Vinson earned the Most Outstanding Performance award.

CMU’s success in 2005 was unprecedented, but the foundation of the program has been laid under Knapp’s leadership. CMU has finished in the top five in every indoor and outdoor conference championship meet since 1997, with four titles (2003, 2005, and 2006 outdoor; 2005 indoor), five second-place finishes, and six third-place finishes.

Knapp was named MAC Coach of the Year five times prior to sweeping both honors in 2005. He shared the honor for the indoor season in 2003 and won it outright in leading CMU to its first outdoor MAC title in 2003. In 1999, he earned the honor for both the indoor and outdoor seasons as the Chippewas notched a pair of runner-up finishes at the MAC Championships. His first Coach of the Year honor came when he led CMU to a third-place finish outdoors in 1988.

Since Knapp came to CMU, the Chippewas have had 15 NCAA All-Americans, including a record four such performers in 2005 (Vinson, Clarence Glenn, Jacob Friess, and Steve Wolf). Abraham Mach earned All-America honors In the 800m in 2008.

Knapp’s teams have also found success in the classroom. During his tenure, 36 Chippewas have earned Academic All-MAC honors. CMU placed a league-best seven student-athletes on the indoor academic squad, while three Chippewas were honored on the outdoor team.

Before coming to CMU, Knapp coached at Northwood University. While in charge of the Timberwolves, Knapp coached 23 NAIA All-Americans in 14 different events, including four national champions. While at Northwood, Knapp was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Coach of the Year three times.

Knapp graduated from Ferris State College in 1971 and earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University in 1972.

Knapp is a member of three athletic halls of fame. He was inducted into the Ferris State Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2005, the Big Rapids Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, and the Northwood University Hall of Fame in 2007.

The Knapp File

Birthplace: Big Rapids, Mich.
High School: Big Rapids, Mich.
College: Ferris State (1971)
Hobbies: Anything outdoors

Coaching Experience
1976-84 Northwood Head Men’s Track and Field Coach

1983-84 Northwood Head Women’s Track and Field Coach

1985- Central Michigan Head Men’s Track and Field Coach

The Chippewas in the MAC Under Knapp

Indoor Outdoor
1986 * 4th
1987 * 7th
1988 * 3rd
1989 * 2nd
1990 * 4th
1991 * 9th
1992 * 5th
1993 * 6th
1994 * 9th
1995 * 7th
1996 5th 7th
1997 4th 3rd
1998 4th 3rd
1999 2nd 2nd
2000 4th 3rd
2001 2nd 4th
2002 3rd 5th
2003 2nd 1st
2004 2nd 3rd
2005 1st 1st
2006 3rd 1st
2007 5th 4th
2008 4th 5th


1998 — MAC Coach of the Year (Outdoor)
1999 — MAC Coach of the Year (Indoor)
1999 — MAC Coach of the Year (Outdoor)
2003 — MAC Coach of the Year (Indoor)
2003 — MAC Coach of the Year (Outdoor), USTCA District Coach of the Year
2005 — MAC Coach of the Year (Indoor), USTCA District Coach of the Year
2005 — MAC Coach of the Year (Outdoor), USTCA District Coach of the Year
2006 — MAC Coach of the Year (Outdoor), USTCA District Coach of the Year