Head Men's Cross Country Coach
Mark Misch is currently in his sixth season as a coach with the cross country and track & field programs after being hired just prior to the 2007 season. He is the Head Men's Cross Country and the Co-Head Men's and Women's Track and Field Coach.
Coach Misch guided the men's cross country team to the NCAA Division II National Championships three times, in 2008, 2011 and 2012, where they placed No. 17, No. 19 and No. 11 respectively. The No. 11 finish in the 2012 season matched the best team finish in program history. In 2008, UCCS became the first team in Division II history not ranked in the region to qualify for the national championships and finish in the top 20. The 2008 season was also the first time in NCAA Division II history that five teams from the same conference and the same state qualified for the national championships. That happened again in 2011 and 2012.
During the 2012 season, the Mountain Lions swept the Colorado College Invitational with a perfect score and won the Roy Griak Invitational Maroon II Race hosted by the University of Minnesota. Emilio Trujillo and Mike English earned a spot on the All-RMAC team and Trujillo, Sam Feldotto and Oliver Williams garnered all-NCAA South-Central Region honors while helping UCCS to as high as ninth in the national rankings.
From 2007-2011 Misch also coached the women's cross country team. In 2008 senior Shannon Payne recorded one the best seasons ever by any UCCS athlete in any sport. That season Payne won the UCCS Rust-Buster Invitational, the CU Rocky Mountain Shootout, the NCAA II Central Region Title and was runner-up at the RMAC Championships as well as an outstanding third place finisher at the NCAA II National Cross Country Championships and 16th place at the USATF National Cross Country Championships/US Trials. Payne also garnered other all-American and all-RMAC honors in cross country and track as well.
Academically, both men’s and women’s cross country and track & field teams have been named all-USTFCCCA teams consistently as well as having several individuals named to the all-academic USTFCCCA national team rosters each season. Misch established the Annual UCCS Rust-Buster Cross Country race and also founded the Colorado Springs Free Cross Country Camp which is put on each summer with no charge to the community.
Hailing from Coffeyville, Kan., Misch began his competitive running career at Field Kindley Memorial High School. Misch was voted as a team captain while earning all-SEK league honors as a junior and senior and all-State honors as a senior.
Misch graduated from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan. with a B.A. Degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Journalism in 1995. Misch also competed from 1993-1995 as a member of Baker's cross country and track teams after starting his career at Coffeyville Community Junior College. During his career at Baker, Misch won seven individual Heart of America Conference titles, and was an 11-time All-HAAC performer in addition to competing in seven NAIA National Championships in cross country and track. Misch also helped lead Baker to back to back HAAC team titles in cross country and their first ever team qualification for the NAIA Cross Country Championships.
Upon graduation, Misch stayed in Kansas to coach at Bethany College through the 1996 season before moving to Colorado to train and study the effects of altitude training as well as coach at Alameda High School in Lakewood, Colorado. While at Bethany, Misch coached two athletes that season to the NAIA National Cross Country and Track & Field Championships.
Misch returned to Kansas and attended Fort Hays State from 1998-99 where he earned his Master's degree with emphasis in Athletic Administration and Communications. While at FHSU Misch was an assistant coach for the cross country and track&field teams under the direction of head coaches Dennis Weber and Jim Krob. Misch worked primarily with the cross country team and middle and long-distance runners throughout the indoor and outdoor track season.
After finishing his Master's Degree, Misch took the head coaching job at Southwest Baptist University in 2000, where he built the track and cross country programs from scratch. During his time there, Misch coached five athletes to All-Region honors in cross country and 27 runners to All-MIAA Conference status. During Misch's tenure at SBU, T.J. Sanderson became the first SBU athlete to qualify for the NCAA II cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field championships. The men's and women's cross country teams were named USTFCCCA All-Academic teams each year as well as numerous individuals who earned USTFCCCA all-Academic status.
In 2005 Misch accepted the opportunity to serve on staff with Athletes in Action Track & Field, with whom he has been involved with since 1994 in different voluntary capacities. Over the years Misch has traveled to numerous countries via AIA and attended international events such as the World Cross Country Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the World Track & Field Championships and the Olympic Games. Misch concluded his commitments with AIA in 2006 before accepting his current position at UCCS. Outside out his responsibilities at UCCS, Misch is still an avid runner himself and has also coached several post-college runners.