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
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
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
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