Under the direction of Cliff Rovelto, the Kansas State Track and Field program has not only experienced a consistent stream of success, but has also established itself as a force among fellow elite programs in the nation. In 2014-15, Rovelto begins his 23rd season as the head coach at Kansas State and his 27th at the school overall.
- Nine-time Team USA team staff member
- Five-time Midwest Region Coach of the Year
- 2001 USTCA Women's Outdoor National Coach of the Year
- 2001 & 2002 Big 12 Conference Women's Outdoor Coach of the Year
- USA Track & Field Master Coach - Jumps
- 1993-present Head Coach, Kansas State
- 1992-1993 Interim Head Coach, Kansas State
- 1988-92 Assistant Coach, Kansas State
- 1987-88 Head Women's Coach, Kansas
- 1983-87 Women's Cross Country Coach & Assistant Track Coach, Kansas
- 1981-83 Men's Graduate Assistant, Kansas
- 1979-81 Head Track & Cross Country Coach, McLouth (Kan.) HS
Contact Coach Rovelto
The steady progression of the K-State program culminated in 2001 with Rovelto being honored by his peers as the women's outdoor National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track Coaches Association.
During his tenure, he has led Kansas State to back-to-back Big 12 Conference women's outdoor team championships in 2001 and 2002 and has earned consecutive Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors, giving him five such honors in his 21 seasons as the Wildcats' head coach. Prior to the start of the 2005 season, Rovelto earned the United States Women's Track and Field College Coaches Award for Service at the USA Track and Field Convention. Rovelto was nominated by his peers and selected by the officers of USA Track and Field as the 2007 recipient of the John Bennett Decathlon Award.
This past season saw Rovelto lead the Wildcat men's and women's squads to top-20 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The men's 19th-place finish made it four-straight seasons they have finished in the top-25, a program first, while the women's 20th-place finish was their second-best placing in the past decade - they finished 13th in 2011. It was a complete effort as of the 13 K-State entries in Eugene, Oregon, 10 earned at least first or second team All-American status.
Under Rovelto, K-State's women earned their best finish ever at the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships, placing fifth. Kansas State's pair of Big 12 Conference women's outdoor team championships was the second and third team titles won by any Wildcat athletic team since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. The other was a women's cross country team title in 1998.
For the men, the outdoor and indoor squads have excelled during Rovelto's tenure. Including a third-place finish at the Big 12 Indoor Championships this past season, the men's track and field squad has finished a combined 19 times (10 indoor, 9 outdoor) in the top-5 in conference championship play since Rovelto began coaching in 1992.
In 1999-2000, the Kansas State women had one of the best combined seasons in all of collegiate track and cross country. The cross country team placed a school-best fifth at the NCAA Championship, while the indoor team was seventh nationally and the outdoor squad was 11th in the team standings at the NCAA Championships. In 2010-11, the women's programs again had an impressive showing. Cross country finished 25th while the team finished 45th indoors and 13th outdoors. The Wildcats were one of a handful of programs to score at all three NCAA Championship meets to rank them 11th in the Terry Crawford Program of the Year Standings.
Since becoming the head coach in November of 1992, the men's and women's cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field programs have earned 210 All-American certificates and 107 individual conference championships. Over his 26 seasons at K-State, Rovelto has personally directed 59 individuals to 145 NCAA All-America certificates, as well as 57 individuals to 86 conference event championships.
The success Rovelto has cultivated at Kansas State has propelled him onto the international coaching stage with the United States Track and Field Association nine times.
An internationally recognized authority in combined events who helped write and teach the curriculum for the U.S. combined events coaching education program, Rovelto is a Level II combined event instructor, and is one of two coaches in the U.S. to coach multiple combined event athletes to over 8,000 points in the decathlon and 6,000 points in the heptathlon.
Most recently, Rovelto served as the women's head coach for the Team USA heptathletes at the Thorpe Cup in Marburg, Germany, in July 2014. He will join the America's team once again in 2014 for the IAAF Continental Cup in September as a jump coach.
Before this year, Rovelto's last Team USA assignment was in 2011 as the head men's coach at the Pan-America Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2010, he was on the staff for America's Team at the IAAF Continental Cup held in Split, Croatia. He also served as the men's assistant coach for the 2007 World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan.
In 2005, Rovelto's international assignment was as an assistant for the Men's Team USA at the World Track & Field Championships. He has also served as head coach of the U.S. Decathlon Team in dual meets with Germany in 2003 and 1997, as well as was named to the U.S. coaching staff as the women's assistant jumps and combined event coach for the 2003 World Outdoor Championships in Paris. Rovelto was also part of the Team USA staff for the 2002 IAAF World Cup in Madrid.
Full Coach Cliff Rovelto Bio
MICHAEL SMITH -- Assistant Coach Middle Distance / Head Cross Country Coach
Michael Smith is entering his 21st year as a member of the track and field coaching staff at K-State and 11th year at the helm of the men's and women's cross country teams. Since arriving in Manhattan in 1994, Smith has played an integral role in the success of the K-State cross country and track & field teams in the Big 12 Conference and at the NCAA Championships. During his tenure, the Wildcats have won three women's team championships in the Big 12 conference (1998 cross country, 2001 and 2002 outdoor track and field), earned their highest ever women's NCAA team finish in cross country (1999: 5th) and have had several top-10 team finishes in men's and women's track and field.
Smith took over the reins of the cross country programs in 2004. In his nine years leading the men's and women's cross country teams, he has guided four individuals (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012) and one team (2010 women) to the NCAA championships, including five consecutive trips to the NCAA Cross Country Championship from 2008-12 where K-State was represented on the women's side.
In 2010, the women's cross country team returned to the NCAA Championships by earning the last at large bid to the 31 team field. The Wildcats went on to finish 25th in their first team appearance since 2000. On the men's side, Mathew Chesang's 2004 senior cross country campaign was one of K-State's most outstanding individual cross country seasons in recent memory. Chesang finished third at the Big 12 Championships, second at the Midwest Regional Championships and capped off his senior season with an All-American performance at the NCAA Championships. Chesang's 12th-place finish was the highest NCAA placing for a Wildcat male since Jerome Howe's 10th place finish in 1971, and the first Wildcat men's cross country All-American since 1992.
As the assistant cross country coach at K-State from 1994-2004, Smith was instrumental in the success enjoyed by the women's and men's cross country teams. During that time period the K-State women won the 1998 Big 12 title in Lincoln, Neb., captured three consecutive Midwest Regional titles (1998, 1999, 2000) and garnered NCAA finishes of 13th, 5th and 10th (1998-2000). The Big 12 women's victory in 1998 was the only Big 12 cross country team title not won by the University of Colorado until Texas Tech's win in 2008.
Under Smith's leadership on the track, the Wildcat mid-distance/distance group has launched a steady advance into the top-10 all-time performances of the K-State track and field record books. In doing so, Smith's athletes have won 16 conference championships, set 23 individual school records, earned 22 All-American certificates and set four Big 12 meet records. During his tenure, Smith has guided nine Wildcat men under 1:50 in the 800 meters, four of whom ran under 1:48. Six wildcat women have run faster than 2:07 under Smith's guidance.
Full Coach Coach Smith Bio | Email Coach Michael Smith
VINCENT JOHNSON -- Assistant Coach - Jumps / Sprints
Vincent Johnson is in his fourth year with Kansas State as the sprints and jumps coach and brings extensive experience coaching elite high school and club track and field athletes in Texas.
In his time at K-State, Johnson has helped both on the track and in recruiting.
This past season saw junior Devin Field excel under the tutelage of Johnson. Leaping to heights not seen at K-State since Olympian Kenny Harrison, Field earned All-American first team honors in both the long jump and triple jump. The Port Arthur, Texas, native in the process became only the eighth Wildcat men's athlete to earn first team honors in multiple events outdoors and joined Harrison as the only other K-State jumper to earn first team honors in both events at the same national outdoor meet.
Also winning the Big 12 triple jump title outdoors, Field was one of several Johnson-coached athletes to perform well as he, along with Alyssa Kelly, both recorded personal bests in the long jump and triple jump this past season. Coupled with Jharyl Bowry's second-straight Big 12 indoor title in the long jump and Johnson's athletes combined for eight scoring performances at conference meets and two conference titles during the 2013-14 season.
In 2013, two athletes coached by Johnson excelled in equally impressive fashion. On the men's side, Bowry was the Big 12 Indoor Champion in the long jump, finishing 1-2 with fellow teammate Ifeanyi Otuonye. Bowry also earned USTFCCCA All-America First Team outdoor honors. For the women, sprinter Jasmine Gibbs broke the school record in the 60 meter dash in the Wildcat's first indoor event of the season, K-State All-Comers. Her mark of 7.41 seconds bested the previous high of 7.46 seconds set in 1997 by Karissa Stewart.
Johnson's first year with K-State was highlighted by his part in helping the Wildcats land the No. 6 women's recruiting class in the nation as ranked by Track & Field News.
Johnson's athletes have seen tremendous individual success in addition to the state titles his teams have won. In particular, 2011 was an especially notable year as Johnson's athletes' accolades included international gold medals, a USA Junior Champion and athlete of the year awards. On the international level, Johnson coached sprinter Jennifer Madu to a gold medal in the 100 meters at the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships in France and Field to a gold medal in the long jump at the 2011 Pan American Junior Championships. Field's most recent effort internationally saw him finish second in the long jump at the North America, Central America, and Caribbean Under-23 Championships.
In national competition, Field won the long jump title at the USA Junior Championships. Field and Madu were also named as both The Dallas Morning News Dallas-Fort Worth area and Texas Gatorade Track and Field Athletes of the Year.
Full Coach Johnson Bio | Email Coach Vincent Johnson
GREG WATSON -- Assistant Coach - Throws
Greg Watson enters his second year as the throws coach of the Kansas State coaching staff.
Watson's first season at K-State was highlighted by an impressive outdoor season put together by the Wildcat throwers group as a whole. Four Wildcats earned All-American honors in Eugene, Oregon, while seven throwers recorded scoring performances at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, including top-three efforts from Sara Savatovic, Dani Winters and Ryan Hershberger.
In total, Watson's first year with the team saw Wildcat throwers finish the season with eight top-10 school marks, while all nine throwers recorded personal best marks in their respective events.
Prior to joining K-State, Watson spent two years at Texas State in the same capacity. He coached the Bobcats to multiple conference championships in two different conferences.Watson's time at Texas State included three conference championships, eight individual conference champions, three school records, three junior national qualifiers and one second-team All-American.
Outside of K State, Watson coaches the current American Record holder in the women's hammer throw, Amanda Bingson. Bingson, a 2012 Olympian, won her second consecutive National Championship this past June in Sacramento, California, where she beat the rest of the field by over 10 feet. She is currently ranked eighth in the world and holds a personal best mark of 75.73m (248-05).
Full Coach Watson Bio | Email Coach Greg Watson
KAROL ROVELTO -- Director of Operations / Assistant Coach - Jumps / Combined Events
Karol Rovelto is entering her 13th year on staff with K-State Track and Field and her 12th season as the director of operations. In 2014-2015, Karol's duties will be expanded as she will also serve as an assistant coach assisting with the high jumpers and combined event athletes.
"Our program would not be what it is without Karol's efforts. Karol has enabled me to take most of the administrative duties off the plate of our assistant coaches enabling them to focus almost entirely on coaching and recruiting," head coach Cliff Rovelto said.
Rovelto (formerly Damon) came to Kansas State after a three-year stint as an assistant track & field and cross country coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
In December of 1999, Rovelto left the Mocs program to concentrate full-time on preparations for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She won the U.S. Olympic Trials with a leap of 6-04.00 before posting the top American finish in Sydney. Rovelto's personal best is 6-05.50.
As a collegian, Rovelto competed for the University of Colorado. While at CU, she was a four time All-American as well as a Big Eight Conference Champion.
Following her collegiate career, Rovelto was consistently ranked among the top-10 U.S. jumpers by Track & Field News, posting a number of top-five finishes at both the USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Full Karol Rovelto Bio | Email Karol Rovelto