Jun. 6—PITTSBURG, Kan. — The shoes will be nearly impossible to fill.
After spending parts of the last 35 years leading Pittsburg State’s cross country and track and field programs, Russ Jewett decided to retire from his coaching positions, the university announced in a press release on Friday night.
He will remain in his position as a senior associate athletics director, a role he has served since 1989.
“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as cross country and track and field coach of the Gorillas,” Jewett said in the release. “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 many other ways and being able to spend more time with family.”
Jewett took over as women’s cross country coach in 1986, men’s and women’s track and field coach in 1987 and men’s cross country coach in 1989.
In cross country, Jewett led PSU to 11 MIAA titles and 13 trips to the Division II National Championships. The men’s cross country team has made five appearances in the national championships.
Jewett also guided the men’s track and field team to 13 MIAA outdoor titles, seven MIAA indoor titles and a national championship. The women’s team secured 12 MIAA outdoor titles, seven MIAA indoor titles and a national championship.
“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 and field programs,” PSU athletics director 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 and field programs.
“He will continue to assist in the athletic development in a part-time role over the next two years. His focus will be on special projects related to facilities and former letter-winner outreach.”
A native of Olathe, Kansas, 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 and Field Committee from 2005-06.