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Wright, Gorillas hit the stage at MIAA football media day

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Pittsburg State Gorillas hit the stage on Tuesday morning at MIAA football media day in Kansas City.

Pitt State is about five weeks away from hitting the road to face Central Missouri in their season opener.

“It’s a big challenge,” head coach Brian Wright says of facing the Mules in week 1, “I think we’re going to find out really quickly where we stand in this conference.”

The Gorillas are heading into their first full MIAA schedule under head coach Brian Wright – who was hired in December 2019.

“I’m even more impressed with the league than I was when I got here,” Wright says, “I knew it was good football and I knew there were a lot of great players and great coaches in this league. I think it’s a very competitive league, and one that there’s no weekends off.”

Pitt State played four games last fall, after COVID-19 erased the conference schedule.

“Even though we weren’t fighting for a national championship or conference championship, we still got to learn from this new coaching staff,” says linebacker Morgan Selemaea, “I think the players trust the coaches a lot after those four games and we’re excited about the upcoming season.”

In addition to erasing last year’s schedule, COVID-19 left some graduating seniors with a difficult choice: to move on – or to return for one more year.

“It’s been a rollercoaster for sure,” says defensive lineman Kaden Roy (Webb City HS), who decided to return this off-season, “I just love the University so much, and this football team and what we stand for. I couldn’t handle the thought of looking back 20 years down the road wondering what if I would have stayed…what could we have done? I decided to take it into my own hands and find out myself.”

The Gorillas were picked 6th in the MIAA media poll and 7th in the MIAA coaches poll released Tuesday.

However, the team knows there are high expectations every season at Pittsburg State, and they’re ready to fight to meet those expectations this fall.

“That’s why I chose to come to Pittsburg State, because of those expectations, because of that tradition and that history,” Wright adds, “because of people like Zac Dickey up here who paved the way before us and really created a monster here. It’s fun to be part of that monster, it really is. That’s what the people what, and more importantly, that’s what these players want. That’s what these guys came to Pittsburg State to do. It’s fun to be around a football team that’s hungry every day to win.”

Pitt State’s season opener will be on September 2nd, on the road against Central Missouri.

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Catching up with former Pitt State head softball coach Elizabeth Economon

JOPLIN, Mo. – Former Pitt state head coach Elizabeth Economon is continuing her rise in the college softball world – being elevated to Associate Head Coach for Wichita State softball last week.

“It shows you loyalty and old age,” Economon says with a laugh, “It shows time put in and caring about a program that you’re a part of,” she adds of her promotion, “I really enjoy working with coach Bredbenner and our new pitching coach. We have a great thing going. To be a part of that and to be loyal to that group means a lot to me. We had a great season. We’re coming off one of our best seasons in school history. We’re hoping to keep that going. Wichita has been good to me and my family.”

Coach Economon was back in the 4-state area Tuesday for a skills camp at Missouri Southern.

“I miss being down here and seeing all the people that we spent so much time with,” Economon says of being back in the area, “It’s always good to get back and see everybody, but there’s good softball down here. I feel like southeast Kansas sometimes gets the quick once-over. There are kids that come from small towns in Oklahoma and small towns in Missouri and Kansas that maybe don’t get recognized initially, but they’re there and you just have to find them.”

Economon left Pitt State in 2017 after 6 years as head coach.

She won more than 200 games at PSU (204-131).

While she’s moved on to Wichita and the Division I level, she still keeps tabs on the Gorillas and the rest of the MIAA.

(Economon) “I always keep an eye on the MIAA. I obviously follow everybody that’s been in the league for a while, and coach Blackney here at Southern I’ve known for a long time,” Economon says, “I’m excited about the success that she’s had with her program, almost immediately. It’s exciting to see the teams you used to compete against have success. When you’re not there it feels a lot better to cheer for them. I’m excited about the direction Pitt State’s going in. I hope things go well.”

Economon is entering her 5th season at Wichita State. The Shockers were 41-13-1 this season, winning both the American Athletic Conference regular season and postseason tournament titles.

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Pitt State hires Fuller to lead softball program

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State has hired Jenny Fuller to lead the Gorillas’ softball program, the school announced on Friday.

Fuller comes to Pittsburg from Northern State, where she went 85-80 in four seasons leading the Wolves.

She takes over for former head coach Ashley Balazs, who resigned in may after four seasons leading the Pitt State program.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University athletic director Jim Johnson announced today (June 11) the hiring of Jenny Fuller as head softball coach for the Gorillas.

She replaces former head coach Ashley Balazs, who resigned from her position in May after leading the Gorillas the past four seasons.

“We are excited to have Jenny join the Gorilla family and Pittsburg community as our head softball coach,” Johnson said. “She is an experienced collegiate head coach with a proven track record of success at the Division II level. Her playing and coaching career was a great fit for our softball program. Additionally, Jenny and her husband, Brad, are extremely excited to be a part of the Pittsburg community.

“Everyone we talked to had nothing but great things to say about Jenny and her coaching ability, her recruiting ability, the culture she builds as a leader and her focus on ensuring student-athletes have a great collegiate experience.”

Fuller comes to Pitt State after serving as head coach at NCAA Division II member Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., the past four seasons (2018-2021). She led the Wolves to an 85-80 overall record, including a 23-20 mark this past spring. In 2020, NSU opened the season on a 10-game winning streak and compiled a program-best 15-4 start before the season was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fuller also served as head coach at NAIA member Cardinal Stritch University for two years (2016-17), compiling a 59-36 record leading the Wolves including a 30-13 mark in 2016.

She has a 144-116 (.554) record in six seasons as a collegiate head coach.

“I am very honored to have been selected as the head softball coach at Pittsburg State University,” Fuller said. “The facilities, administrative support, and fan involvement at Pitt are unmatched in Division II, and I am excited to begin working on developing our standard of excellence in the softball program. I would like to thank President Scott, Jim Johnson, and the search committee for providing this opportunity to become part of Gorilla Nation!”

Prior to Cardinal Stritch, Fuller served as the assistant and interim head softball coach at NCAA Division III University of Texas at Dallas. A total of four softball student-athletes were named to the All-ASC teams including one first-team honoree.

Fuller began her collegiate coaching career at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, where she was an assistant softball and pitching coach. In her four years at MCC, Fuller coached two first team All-Conference pitchers, as well as six All-Conference position players and the conference Co-MVP. McLennan advanced to the 2011 National Championships and in 2014 won the Region 5 North Conference Championship finishing with a record of 46-8.

Fuller is a 2007 graduate of McLennan Community College with an Associate Degree in Arts and Business, as well as a 2009 and 2011 graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Science in Sport Management.

She began her collegiate playing career at McLennan where she was an NFCA first-team All-American pitcher, NJCAA second-team All-American, and a participant in the National Junior College World Series. She went on to pitch two years at Baylor University earning Academic Big 12 honors and playing in the 2009 Ann Arbor Super Regional. Following her collegiate career, Fuller played one professional season with the Freising Grizzlies of the German Bundeslegia league.

Jenny and her husband, Brad, have a daughter, Emma, 4.

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Pitt State team camp puts players on the other side of the game

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pitt State’s annual high school team camp is a big undertaking for head coach Amanda Davied and her program.

Over the next 9 days, around 130 teams will play more than 230 games between 11 different locations in the Pittsburg area, including at Pitt State’s John Lance Arena.

“It’s something that’s been established, and so it’s the same dates every year, except for last year, obviously with the pandemic,” says coach Davied, “We’ve had a lot of loyal teams coming over the years, so it was great to see everybody again.”

The first session of the camp started on Wednesday morning.

For the players at Pitt State it puts them on the other side of the game for a couple weeks.

“We get up at 7 AM for weights, and then come up here and work games from nine-to-six,” says senior guard Tristan Gegg.

“They do all the t-shirts, they do the scorekeeping and other stuff,” Davied says of her players, “One of our girls, Shayla Kohler, actually organized the entire dorm setting. She organized 400 kids in the dorms. She wants to get into basketball operations, and so she’s doing some of the logistics with it. It’s really cool. It gets us to work with our kids in a totally different environment.”

It’s also one of the first times incoming freshmen get to work with their new teammates.

“It’s been so much fun. I love being around the girls,” says incoming freshman Karenna Gerber (Halstead HS), “They’re great people and really fun to play with. Getting used to the style of play is a little different than high school, obviously. It’s a lot faster. Having great teammates, they’ve really helped me adjust, and I’m really excited for the season to start.”

“One of the biggest factors is just that they get acclimated to their environment,” Davied says of her incoming players, “It’s not like when they come to campus in August it’s the first time they’ve been here, and it’s just information overload, and stimulus overload.”

“This is a really good chance for the freshmen and incoming people to get acquainted with the team,” Gegg says, “We scrimmage on camp days as well. It’s just a really good time to come together for the first time before the season.”

The first session of Pitt State’s team camp runs from June 9th-June 11th, with the second session running from June 16th-June 18th. Coach Davied says there are 63 teams booked for the first camp, with 73 expected to be in town next week.

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Dotson turns to racing after baseball

GALENA, Kan. – He’s been a pitcher for most of his life, but now he’s ready to try something different.

“I’ve always had a love for going fast. It’s just one of the best feelings in the world, honestly.”

Just one week after finishing his baseball career at Pitt State, Jarret Dotson jumped in a car and competed in his first race.

“I’m a lot more nervous getting in this race car sometimes before races than I really ever was in baseball,” Dotson says, “which is kind of funny because I’ve played in some pretty big games here and there.”

Dotson was a 4-year player for Pittsburg State. In high school, he was the 4A Division II Pitcher of the Year for Baxter Springs, and led the Lions to a state championship in 2016.

“When he was pitching, he was in control. He was out there and it was his game to win or lose,” says Shane Dotson, Jarret’s father, “You get into these cars, and you’ve got 16 of them bunched up at 80-100 miles per hour, there’s not much room for error.”

Racing is a family tradition for Dotson – with both his dad and grandpa competing before him.

“I had the privilege of racing back in the 90’s in Joplin. We raced all over the mid-west and had some success,” Shane says, “As a dad, watching your son excel and achieve his dream, it’s far superior to anything I’ve ever done.”

Dotson even built his first car with his dad last winter.

“If you’re into mechanics and cars and stuff like that, getting to build a car with your dad is one of the coolest things you can do as a kid,” he says.

“I got to do that with my dad,” Shane says, “My dad went to heaven a long time ago. For he and I to be under the race car working together, and me explaining and sharing my knowledge, it’s just been a special time for he and I. This is something he and I can do for many years to come. We’re excited about the future of what Jarret has the opportunity to do in these race cars.”

Dotson is just getting started – and has bigger plans for his racing career.

For now though…

“We’ll cross that road when we come to it,” Dotson finishes, “I’m just trying to get us through this first season without tearing anything up.”

Dotson has competed in four races in the last two weeks. He has already picked up his first top-10 finish, finishing 8th at a race last Friday.

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Jewett passes torch to Rutledge for Pitt State track and field

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Russ Jewett is calling at career as a head coach at Pittsburg State.

Jewett made the announcement on Friday, after leading the Gorilla men to an MIAA outdoor conference championship and a 4th-place finish at nationals.

“I wanted to leave coaching when I was still effective,” Jewett says of his retirement, “I think I’ve been pretty effective still recently. I just feel like it’s time to turn things over to others that are going to continue this tradition, and maybe even take it to new heights.”

Kyle Rutledge has been named Jewett’s successor.

Rutledge has been an assistant coach for the Gorillas for the last nine years, including being Associate Head Coach for the last four.

He has learned a thing or two in those nine seasons under Jewett, who has earned MIAA Coach of the Year honors 46 times between men’s and women’s track and field and cross country.

“That’s a long list,” Rutledge says of things he’s learned from Jewett, “Definitely how he leads a program, how he treats people and definitely just how he has passion. It’s undeniable how much he cares about the student-athletes and their well-being, and just the passion he has for this university and the community.”

“His competitive intensity is at the top of the list, but it’s not the most important thing,” Jewett says of Rutledge, “He has the welfare of the student-athlete in mind when he approaches his coaching philosophy. He’s very much a team-builder, and that’s very important to us and our program.”

Rutledge knows he has big shoes to fill – after Jewett led the Gorillas to 50 conference championships and 2 national titles.

“Our number one expectations is to honor our tradition year in and year out,” Rutledge says, “We have great people around it. We just want to make sure we’re doing things the right way. Winning is always at the top of the list, but we want to make sure we’re teaching these athletes how to become better people, and to honor our tradition and Pittsburg State the right way.”

“In the moment, you want to win championships and develop character, and then you want to leave something for the folks that come after you,” Jewett says, “He has bought into that completely and made that stronger here, and that’s near and dear to my heart.”

But Rutledge says this is a dream job for him – and he’s here to continue that tradition for a long time.

“When I arrived here nine years ago, it was a phenomenal opportunity. I just fell in love with the school and the community. So yeah, it became a dream,” Rutledge finishes on the feeling of becoming head coach, “It was relief that me and my family feel at home here. We love it here. We love the community and being close to home. It was more of a sigh of relief that we’re going to be here for the long haul.”

In addition to promoting Rutledge to head coach on Monday, Pitt State also promoted assistant coach Brian Mantooth to associate head coach and part-time assistant Ben Barrows to full-time assistant coach.

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Pitt State tabs Rutledge to lead track and field, cross country programs

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State University has named Kyle Rutledge the school’s next head coach for the track and field and cross country programs.

Rutledge takes over for Russ Jewett, who announced his retirement on Friday.

Rutledge just finished up his 9th season as an assistant coach for the Gorillas. He’s been Associate Head Coach for the last four seasons. He was named the 2018 NCAA Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year for men’s indoor track & field after helping lead the Gorillas to the program’s first national championship, and is a 4X regional assistant coach of the year.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Johnson announced today (June 7) coaching staff changes within the Gorillas track & field/cross country program following the retirement of long-time head coach Russ Jewett.

Johnson announced that associate head coach Kyle Rutledge will now assume the head coach role for the Pitt State men’s and women’s cross country and track & field programs. Assistant track & field coach Brian Mantooth also has been elevated to the role of Associate Head Coach/Meet Director. Ben Barrows, who has served as a part-time assistant coach in the program the past four years, will now serve as a full-time assistant coach, focusing on leading the cross country and distance programs.

Jewett announced his retirement from his coaching posts Friday (June 4).

“We are excited to announce these staff changes,” Johnson said. “We have worked in concert with Coach Jewett on our plans and vision for the cross country and track & field programs moving forward and these staff changes reflect that vision. For the majority of the past century, four men – Doc Weede, Prentice Gudgen, David Suenram and Russ Jewett – have led our track & field program. We are excited about the leadership and energy Kyle and his staff will continue to bring to the program.”

Rutledge recently completed his ninth year as a full-time assistant coach in the Pitt State track & field program – his fourth year as the program’s Associate Head Coach. He has overseen the coaching of the high jump, pole vault, multi and hurdle events for the Gorillas.

In nine years with the Gorillas, Rutledge has coached 45 All-America performances, seven national champions and 10 national runners-up, as well as a score of All-MIAA performances and 22 school records. All of those athletes have combined to make 57 entries on Pitt State’s all-time top 10 performance lists.

Rutledge has helped guide the Pitt State women to the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championship – the first team title in school history – as well as five straight MIAA Outdoor Championships from 2015-2019 and five straight MIAA Indoor Championships from 2016-2020.

Rutledge has garnered Division II Regional Assistant Coach of the Year honors four times:  2015 Indoor, Women; 2016 Outdoor, Women; 2017 Indoor, Women; and, 2018 Indoor, Men.

Rutledge also has helped lead the Pitt State men to five MIAA Indoor Championships (2014-2015, 2017-2018, 2021) and five MIAA Outdoor Championships (2013-2015, 2018, 2021) in the last nine years.

The Pitt State men and women have combined to claim 19 MIAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships in the past nine years.

Prior to coming to Pitt State, Rutledge served as an assistant coach at Missouri S&T for three years. His athletes broke 23 school records at MST and he coached 12 NCAA Division II All-Americans.

Rutledge also spent two seasons coaching at his alma mater, Missouri Southern, where he coached 10 NCAA Division II All-Americans and three NCAA-II national runners-up.

Mantooth recently completed his 12th year as a full-time assistant coach in the Pittsburg State University track & field program, after serving as a part-time assistant coach for eight years for his alma mater.

Mantooth, who is responsible for coaching throwing events, has been honored as the NCAA Division II Men’s Outdoor National Assistant Coach of the Year twice in the last seven years. He received the national accolades in 2014 and again in 2016. Mantooth also has earned Regional Assistant Coach of the Year recognition five times (2009, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2021).

He helped guide the Pitt State women to the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championship – the first team title in school history – as well as five straight MIAA Outdoor Championships from 2015-2019 and five consecutive MIAA Indoor Championships from 2016-2020.

Mantooth also has helped lead the Pitt State men to the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship – also a program first – and six MIAA Outdoor Championships in the last eight years (2012-2015, 2018, 2021).  In all he has helped coach Gorilla teams to 19 team indoor or outdoor conference titles.

During his tenure as a Pitt State assistant, the Gorillas have produced 89 first-team All-America performances between the men’s and women’s teams as well as 164 NCAA Division II national meet qualifiers. Additionally, Mantooth has coached six national champion performances, eight national runners-up, 252 All-MIAA performances as well as 52 MIAA championship efforts and eight MIAA Championships meet records.

He also has coached one NCAA Division II all-time record holder (Garrett Appier, shot put, 2016), two Olympic Trials qualifier (Garrett Appier, shot put, 2016; Brett Thompson, javelin, 2021) and one Junior USATF National Qualifier (Creighton Sanders, javelin, 2017). Mantooth also has coached 40 different record holders at Pitt State as well as 14 CoSIDA Academic All-America throwers, including the 2019-20 CoSIDA Academic All-America Men’s Track & Field Team Member of the Year (Levi Wyrick) and three NCAA Elite 90 Award winners.

Barrows recently completed his fourth season as an assistant coach for distance and middle distance runners at Pitt State.

Since arriving at Pitt State in the fall of 2017, Pitt State cross country/track & field has won 12 team MIAA championships. Women’s cross country captured MIAA team titles in 2017, 2018, and 2019; women’s indoor track & field in 2018, 2019, and 2020; women’s outdoor track & field in 2018 and 2019. On the men’s side, indoor track & field captured MIAA team titles in 2018 and 2021 while outdoor track & field also secured the team titles in 2018 and 2021.

Also since 2017, women’s cross country has seen success at the national level, earning a bid to the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships in 2017, 2018, and 2019 with a highest finish of 13th as a team in 2018. Men’s track & field has earned two podium finishes at the national level, once by winning the indoor national title at home in 2018 and again by placing fourth at the 2021 outdoor track & field championships.

For the individual successes, Barrows has helped guide Gorillas distance and middle-distance runners to 14 MIAA championships, 54 All-MIAA performances, and 29 All-Region performances. School records have been improved on 16 occasions including a historic season in 2021 where the men’s indoor team rewrote school records in the 600y, 800m, mile, 3000m, 5000m, and both the 4x400m and distance medley relay.

Barrows came to Pitt State from his alma mater, Central Missouri, where he coached for two years. In his time coaching at UCM, Barrows guided runners to three All-MIAA performances, three All-Region performances, one conference champion, two school records, and three national qualifying events in track.

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Pitt State’s Jewett retires as head coach of track and field, cross country programs

PITTSBURG, Kan. – One of the most decorated coaches in MIAA Track and Field history is calling it a career.

Pitt State’s Russ Jewett has announced he will retire from his coaching positions with the track and field and cross country teams. He will stay with the school as a Senior Associate Athletic Director for the Gorillas.

Jewett is a 46X MIAA Coach of the Year between the two sports since starting at Pitt State in 1986.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University head cross country and track & field coach Russ Jewett announced today (June 4) that he will retire from his coaching positions leading his alma mater.

Jewett, who has additionally served in the athletic department administration since 1989, will remain in his role as a Senior Associate Athletic Director for Pitt State Athletics.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as cross country and track & field coach of the Gorillas,” Jewett said. “I am proud to be part of the strong tradition that our athletes, coaches, and alumni value greatly.  Pitt State is truly an amazing place, and I am blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many exceptional student-athletes, coaches, administrators, faculty and staff over the years. I have loved being a coach, and I know I will miss it. However, I look forward to assisting the program in other ways and being able to spend more time with family.”

Jewett assumed the position of head women’s cross country coach in 1986, head men’s and women’s track & field coach in 1987 and head men’s cross country coach in 1989.

In cross country, Jewett has led the PSU women to 11 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athleitcs Association titles – including the past three MIAA Championships (2017-19) – and 13 trips to the NCAA Division II National Championships. While the PSU men have not garnered an MIAA title, the Gorillas have made five NCAA Division II National Championships appearances, including three straight trips from 2007-09.

In track & field, Jewett has guided the Gorilla men to 13 MIAA outdoor titles, including four in a row from 2012-15, and seven MIAA indoor crowns. He has led the Pitt State women to 12 MIAA outdoor titles, including five straight championships (2015-19), as well as seven MIAA indoor championships (three straight, 2017-19).

Jewett guided the women’s program to the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championship – the first national championship in women’s program history. He was named the 2016 NCAA Division II Women’s Outdoor National Coach of the Year following the season.

Jewett followed up that national crown by leading the men’s program to the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship, hosted by Pitt State at the Robert W. Plaster Center  – the first national championship in men’s program history. He was named the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Indoor National Coach of the Year following that season as well.

Additionally, he garnered NCAA Division II Women’s Indoor National Coach of the Year accolades in 1995; and Jewett has been honored as MIAA Coach of the Year 46 times since PSU joined the league in 1989, more than any other conference coach during that span. Most recently he was named the 2021 MIAA Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year after leading the Gorillas to a pair of conference crowns this year.

The women’s cross country team has captured MIAA titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The PSU women own MIAA outdoor titles from 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2004, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The Gorilla women also garnered MIAA indoor titles in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

His men’s track & field squad captured the MIAA outdoor titles in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2021.  PSU also has won MIAA indoor titles in 1993, 1995, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2021.

In addition to team success, Gorilla track & field and cross country student-athletes have earned NCAA Division II All-America honors on more than 300 occasions under Jewett, including 36 individual event national champions in the sports.

In men’s track & field, the Gorillas have placed among the top 25 teams in NCAA Division II in 24 of 31 outdoor seasons under Jewett (26 times, indoors). PSU has placed among the top 10 teams 10 times during the outdoor season including fourth-place finishes in 1999 and 2021 and fifth-place finishes in 2014 and 2015. The Gorillas have seven top 10 indoor finishes including a third-place finish in 1995, a fifth-place finish in 2021, a sixth-place finish in 2000 and the national championship in 2018.

In women’s track & field, PSU has placed among the top 25 teams in NCAA Division II 23 times in the last 31 outdoor seasons (19 times, indoors). The Gorillas have seven top 10 outdoor finishes including a fifth-place finish in 2015, the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championship and a fourth-place finish in 2017. Pitt State has seven top 10 indoor finishes including back-to-back fourth-place finishes (2016-17) and a fifth-place finish in 2018.

A native of Olathe, Kan., Jewett graduated cum laude from PSU in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics. He was a three-time CSIC champion hurdler and an All-American decathlete in 1982, placing second at the NAIA Outdoor National Championships.

Jewett served as the chair of the NCAA Division II Track & Field Committee from 2005-06.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Coach Jewett for his service to Pittsburg State and the championship caliber program he has fostered over more than three decades leading the Gorillas cross country and track & field programs,” PSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Johnson said. “He also played an instrumental role in the development and construction of the Plaster Center. We wish him all the best and know the future remains bright for the Pitt State cross country and track & field programs. He will continue to assist in the athletic department in a part-time role over the next two years. His focus will be on special projects related to facilities and former letterwinner outreach.”

Please stay tuned in the coming days to pittstategorillas.com and the Gorillas social media accounts for additional information about the future of the Pitt State cross country and track & field programs.

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Lattimer on new position as Pittsburg’s strength and conditioning coach

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Josh Lattimer is a southeast Kansas kid through-and-through.

“This is home. I love the people,” Lattimer says, “There’s tough people here, and I love tough people.”

Lattimer has been named the new strength and conditioning coach for Pittsburg High School, after serving as an assistant coach for Pitt State football since 2017.

“I’m excited. I’m fortunate to have this opportunity and very thankful. The main thing is to get these guys and girls motivated and bring the juice every day, and have them ready to compete at their full potential for their coaches whenever they get out there,” Lattimer says, “I don’t think there’s going to be much difference from working with college kids to high school kids. I’m not going to change me or who I am or what I do. I’m going to get the most out of everybody that we can.”

The Fort Scott native played football collegiately at Pittsburg State, earning All-MIAA recognition his final three years (2003-2005) and earning All-America honors his final two seasons (2004-2005). He helped the 2004 team go 14-1 overall and finish as the Division II National Runner-up.

Lattimer has served as the Gorillas’ defensive line coach since 2017.

“I’m always going to be tied into Pittsburg State. They gave me an opportunity. They made me,” Lattimer says, “coach Beck, coach Broyles, coach Roth and all those guys…coach Garmin. They’ll always be a part of me, and I’m always going to be a part of Gorilla nation.”

His new role at Pittsburg High School will give Lattimer more time with his family – something he’s looking forward to.

“That’s the main reason…those five people I’m in charge of are the main reason I’m doing this,” Lattimer says, “I’m excited and they’re excited. They’re excited about the Purple Dragons.”

And he’s also already familiar with some of the people he will now be working with.

“LC and I go way back,” Lattimer says of Pittsburg High School wrestling coach LC Davis, “He used to come pick me up at 5 o’clock in the morning and we would go work out and train for wrestling. Coach (Tom) Nickelson…he and I go way back as well. I’m getting to know (Athletic Director) Jeff Staley more and more. The more I get to know him, the more I get excited and love being around him. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of the coaches there, working with them and working with their athletes, preparing them to be the best they can be for those coaches.”

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Lattimer named Pittsburg High School strength and conditioning coach

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg High School has hired Pitt State football assistant coach Josh Lattimer to be the school’s next strength and conditioning coach.

Lattimer has served as Pitt State’s defensive line coach since 2017.

The Fort Scott native played football collegiately at Pittsburg State. He earned All-MIAA recognition as a player in his final three seasons from 2003-2005, and also earned All-America recognition in 2004 and 2005. He helped Pitt State to a 14-1 overall record in his junior season in 2004, when the Gorillas finished as the Division II National Runner-up.

He was inducted into the Pitt State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.