Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- Director of Athletics Todd Stewart announced Thursday the hiring of Brent Chumbley as the next head coach of the WKU Cross Country and Track & Field programs.
“We are excited to announce Brent Chumbley as the next head coach of our men’s and women’s cross country and track & field programs,” Stewart opened. “Coach Chumbley has taken every program he has been a part of to new heights and we are confident that success will continue with our tradition-rich programs here on The Hill. With his prior head coaching experience and proven track record, Coach Chumbley is a perfect fit for our program and we are thrilled to welcome him and his family to Bowling Green.”
“It is an honor to be the next cross country and track & field coach at WKU; the opportunity to be a part of such a tremendous program is one that checked all the boxes for my family and I,” Chumbley shared. “I would like to extend a thank you to Todd Stewart, Craig Biggs and the entire search committee for believing in me and trusting me to build upon the strong foundation that has been set for these programs. The chance to return home to Kentucky and become a member of the Hilltopper family and Bowling Green community is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Chumbley returns to the Bluegrass State following a 13-year stint at Radford University that saw him head both the men’s and women’s track & field squads while overseeing the school’s cross country efforts. After a season in Radford as the throws coach, the Paris, Ky., native took on the role of interim program director for the Highlanders during the 2007-08 campaign. One season later, Chumbley dropped the interim tag and became the school’s director of track and field/cross country – a position he would hold until summer 2019.
In his season as the interim program director, the men’s indoor track & field squad posted its best-ever finish at the Big South Championships, placing second. The men’s and women’s teams would combine for seven individual All-Conference performers at the event. The outdoor season saw continued success with two women and seven men qualifying for the NCAA East Preliminaries including sophomore Kyle Morse who won the meet’s hammer throw title and went on to become Chumbley’s first All-American at Radford – the fifth in program history.
Under Chumbley’s watchful eye, Radford produced a total of 168 All-Conference performers, 41 Big South champions, 37 NCAA Preliminary qualifiers, six All-Americans and an NCAA East Prelims champion. During his tenure, Chumbley saw 73 Highlander school records reset.
Chumbley led the Highlanders’ men’s squads to seven top-five finishes, not to mention a pair of runner-up showings. On the women’s track & field side, Chumbley has helped secure eight combined top-five finishes, including one at each of the last four Big South Championships. After leading the women’s indoor track & field squad to a third-place finish at the 2015 Big South Championships, Chumbley was recognized as the league’s Women’s Indoor Coach of the Year.
Prior to his arrival at Radford, Chumbley spent four seasons as an assistant at Illinois State. In his time with the Redbirds, Chumbley produced a U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier, two NCAA Championship qualifiers, 17 NCAA Preliminary qualifiers, eight conference champions, and 23 All-Conference performers.
In his one-year stop at Murray State, Chumbley helped produce a conference champion and 17 All-Conference performers in addition to guiding his group to four school records.
While earning his master’s degree in teaching (physical education) from Hastings College (Neb.), Chumbley coached the NAIA affiliate program to new heights with two All-Americans, 12 NCAA qualifiers, one multi-event national champion, and 17 school records.
A 1998 graduate from the University of Kentucky with a degree in education and kinesiology, Chumbley also helped the Wildcats’ program as an intern under the direction of head coach John Kenneson.
Chumbley was an All-Conference performer in the hammer throw while at Marshall University and a three-time Kentucky high school state champion during his prep days.
Between his time at Marshall as a student-athlete and when he earned his Bachelor’s degree from Kentucky, Chumbley spent three years in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he served as an 82nd Airborne Division combat engineer. Following his service, he spent three more years working before going back to school.
In addition to his coaching experience at the collegiate level, Chumbley brings a wealth of knowledge from the King of the Ring Throws Festival, Redbird Track and Field Camp, Urbana Coaches Clinic, Central Illinois Track Club and the Chumbley/Fister Throws Camp.
Chumbley also spent time as a volunteer coach at Georgetown College (1999) and was in participation with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
He and his wife Jennifer have one daughter, Alex.
Chumbley is the 13th individual to direct the men’s cross country and track & field programs on The Hill and the sixth coach on the Lady Topper side. He takes over following the departure of Erik Jenkins who had led the programs since 2008.
WKU is coming off of a ninth-place finish on the men’s side and 12th-place showing by the Lady Toppers at the 2018 Conference USA Cross Country Championships. At the 2019 C-USA Indoor Championships, the men again finished ninth while the women came in 10th. Most recently at the C-USA Outdoor Championships, WKU’s men’s squad brought home fourth place while the women came in at 11th.
THE BRENT CHUMBLEY FILE
Born: September 28, 1969
Hometown: Paris, Ky.
High School: Paris HS
College: Marshall 1989-91; Kentucky 1997-98
Children: Daughter, Alex (13)
High School: Paris HS
College: Marshall University (1989-91)
1989-91: Marshall – Student-Athlete
1991-94: Stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., Army Base – 82nd Airborne Division Combat Engineer
1997-98: Graduated from Kentucky/Intern with track & field
1998-99: Georgetown College – Volunteer Assistant Coach
1999-2001: Hasting College (Neb.) – Graduate school/Throws Coach
2001-02: Murray State – Assistant Coach
2002-06: Illinois State – Assistant Coach
2006-07: Radford – Assistant Coach
2007-08: Radford – Interim Director of Track & Field/Cross Country
2009-19: Radford – Director of Track & Field/Cross Country
2019: WKU – Head Coach Cross Country and Track & Field