Tom Pappas is in his third year with the Kansas State Wildcats as a full-time assistant coach. The former University of Tennessee decathlete brings a resume filled with success at the collegiate and professional ranks.
Pappas has represented the United States in three Olympic Games - a rarity in the decathlon. He will use his experience in the event to work closely with the jumps and combined events athletes at K-State.
Last year, the combined events athletes had a strong campaign as K-State became the first school to have three athletes post NCAA automatic qualifying marks in the decathlon at the same meet. Sophomores Moritz Cleve and Rok Derzanic and freshman Mantas Silkauskas all scored big at the Big 12 Championship to accomplish the feat. Cleve set a Big 12 Championship record with 8,004 points as well. He would go on to finish third at the NCAA Championship. Cleve also won the heptathlon at the Big 12 Indoor Championship and placed fifth at the NCAA's. In 2008, Derzanic earned All-America honors in the heptathlon finishing eighth with Cleve coming in 12th.
The native of Azalea, Ore., is a five-time USA national champion. A three-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008), Pappas won the Olympic Trials in 2000 with a then-personal best mark of 8,467 and earned a No. 2 ranking in the United States from Track and Field News. Pappas placed fifth at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, with 8,425 points. In 2009, he posted the third highest score in the world, and Pappas has been ranked eight times among the world's Top 10 in the decathlon.
Pappas had his strongest year of competition in 2003 when he set a new career mark and scored over 8,700 on two occasions. He captured his second of four USA Outdoor titles with his all-time top mark of 8,784 points. Paired with a title at the 2003 World Outdoors (8,750), Pappas earned his first No. 1 ranking in the world by Track and Field News.
As a Tennessee Volunteer, Pappas took the decathlon crown at the 1999 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the same year that he held the NCAA record with 8,463 points set in Tempe, Ariz. His early successes include winning the USA Junior and Pan Am Junior combined titles in 1995.
Pappas is a 2000 graduate of Tennessee and brother to Paul and Billy Pappas, who both attended the University of Oregon and finished fourth and first, respectively, at the Pac-10 Championships during their decathlete careers. Pappas and his wife Kim have two daughters, Kinley and Kendall.