Head Coach: 3rd Season
Phone: 517 750-6788
In June of 2014, Spring Arbor University Athletic Director Ryan Cottingham announced that Jeremy Smith, the men’s cross country and track & field assistant coach for the previous two seasons, had been named the Cougars’ Director of Cross Country and Track & Field.
During his first four years with the cross country program, including two as head coach, the Cougars saw four runners qualify for the NAIA National Championships, and three would go on to earn All-American honors. Smith has helped coach the two Crossroads League individual champions and seven All-Conference performers. In 2012, he helped guide SAU to a conference runner-up finish while the squad placed fourth in 2013.
The Cougar men have impressed on the track as well under Smith’s guidance, boasting 27 NAIA national qualifiers, nine All-Americans, and three individual national champions – all in distance events. To go along with the NAIA accolades, Spring Arbor has crowned six more National Christian College Athletics Association (NCCAA) national champions. Additionally, SAU has captured titles in 10 events at the conference level over the last three seasons.
Not only have his teams found success in competitions, but they have also excelled in the classroom. Between the men’s and women’s cross country teams since the 2014-15 academic year, the Cougars combined for 14 NAIA Scholar-Athletes, while the track & field teams totaled 18 more.
Smith began his career at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he spent three seasons as an assistant cross country and track and field coach from 2003-05. During his tenure, he assisted in leading the Colonels men’s team to a 22nd place finish at the NCAA DIII national championships in 2005 as well as a NCAA DIII South/Southeast Regional Championship. He also coached school-record breaking teams in the distance medley relay and 4×800 meter relay. Other responsibilities while at Centre included recruiting and designing running and lifting programs for distance and middle distance runners.
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in religion philosophy from Roberts Wesleyan College, where he was a four-year letterman and team captain. As an athlete with the Redhawks, he received the Wheeler Award in 2005, which recognizes the NCCAA’s Cross Country Outstanding Runners in athletics, academics, leadership, Christian character and Christian service. On the track, his times in the 5000 meter run, 10,000 meter run and distance medley relay still rank top-5 in school history.
“Great coaches and leaders before me have sacrificed so much to develop the foundation and culture I now have the opportunity to build on,” said Smith. “I’m excited for what God has in store for Spring Arbor University men’s and women’s cross country and track & field!”
Smith holds a USATF Level 1 certification and is a certified personal trainer. He is married to Shannon Smith and has two sons, Aiden and Bradley. The Smiths currently reside in Concord, Michigan.
Assistant Coach: 3rd Season
Phone: 517 750-6573
Bryan Burk begins his third season as the head coach of the Spring Arbor University women’s track and field program.
The former standout competed as a member of the Cougar cross country and track teams for four years from 2009-13. He was a three-time All-Conference performer in cross country, where he helped lead SAU to a pair of second place league finishes and one third place finish.
On the track, Burk was a three-time NAIA national qualifier in the marathon, posting his best time in 2011. He narrowly missed a top-10 finish, placing 11th after completing the race in 2:33:19.96. In 2012, Burk brought home his first conference championship after claiming the top spot in the 10,000 meter run.
While a member of the cross country program, the Cougar men’s team was honored by the NAIA with the Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award. This prestigious award is given to teams that demonstrate in every day decisions integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
Burk received his Bachelor’s in Health and Exercise Science in 2013. He holds a USATF Level 1 Coaching Certification and is a Certified Personal Trainer through the ACSM.
He and his wife, Chelsae, reside in Spring Arbor, Michigan.