Born: Olathe, Kansas Graduated: Olathe North, 1979 / Pittsburg State University, 1983
Pittsburg State University has been blessed with outstanding student-athletes, great coaches and successful alumni.
However, few people check the boxes like Russ Jewett does. An excellent athlete for the Gorillas, he was a three-time conference champion in the hurdles; and in 1982 was an All-America decathlete placing second at the NAIA outdoor track and field championships. He was also an all state performer at Olathe (Kan.) North High School
After graduating from Pittsburg State in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics, he began his tenure in the Gorilla athletic department in 1985. A year later, he was named the women’s cross country coach (he would assume head coaching duties for the men’s team in 1989); and in 1987 was named head coach of both the men’s and women’s track and field teams. In 1989, he became an assistant athletic director, and in 2011 was elevated to senior associate athletic director. He retired from coaching June 4, 2021.
In all, he coached the women's cross country program for 35 years and men for 32. In that time, he led the women's cross country team to 11 MIAA titles, and the women’s track team to seven indoor league titles and 12 outdoor championships. His men’s track and field earned five indoor conference championships and 12 outdoor team titles. Under his tutelage, his student-athletes have earned All-America status more than 300 times with 34 individual national champions. The Gorillas have six, top 10 national indoor team finishes including a third-place finish in 1995, a sixth place finish in 2000 and the national championship in 2018.
Jewett has been honored as Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year 44 times since Pittsburg State joined the league in 1989. Nationally, he has been chosen as NCAA Division II Track and Field Coach of the Year, three times.
Among his impressive coaching distinctions, he served as Chair of NCAA Track & Field Committee in 2005-06, overseeing Division I, II, and III track & field operations.
Since retiring, Jewett has been spending time with his wife Janice and their children Sarah and Will. Russ had the privilege of coaching his daughter Sarah at Pittsburg State.
Photo Courtesy of Pittsburg State University