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Track & Field/Cross Country Camp

Coaching Staff

John Gondak
Head Coach

John Gondak: After serving six years as an assistant coach, two years as an associate head coach and two months as the interim head coach for the Nittany Lions, John Gondak was named head coach of Penn State cross country/track & field on Sept. 17, 2014. Gondak's résumé while with the Blue and White - which can be matched by few middle distance mentors in the country - includes 19 First Team All-Americans, 22 Big Ten Champions, 20 Penn State records, four Big Ten Freshman of the Year honorees, five Penn Relays victories, and three sub-4:00 milers.

Aside from his student-athletes' efforts on the track, the Doylestown, Pa., native has also had a huge impact on the Nittany Lions' success on the cross country course, including a Big Ten title by the women's squad in 2009, and an NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional title in 2012. Over the years, Gondak has assisted in NCAA-qualifying efforts by the women's squad in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and by the men's team in 2008 and 2010. On the men's side during the 2013 season, Matt Fischer posted the highest finish at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships in school history (third), placed fourth at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and finished 78th overall at the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

The Nittany Lion women's squad placed 13th at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships - the highest finish in nearly two decades. In fact, the Nittany Lion women have enjoyed five-straight NCAA-qualifying performances in cross country, capturing top-15 standings on three out of five occasions.

Gondak has also been widely recognized by the coaching community as he was named United States Track and Field/Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year during the indoor season in 2009 and again for his efforts during the 2010 outdoor season. Gondak swept the Mid-Atlantic awards in 2013, winning the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Men's Assistant Coach of the Year award during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. He was most recently named USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Men's Assistant Coach of Year during the 2014 indoor track & field season.

Fritz Spence
Assistant Coach

Fritz Spence: Fritz Spence is in his ninth year coaching the Nittany Lion women's jumpers and multi-event athletes after outstanding results over the past eight seasons. In his first eight years with the Nittany Lions, Spence has overseen 14 All-America efforts, including Gayle Hunter, who claimed a total of nine All-America certificates in the multi-events. Hunter is the indoor school record holder in the long jump 20-11.00 (6.37m) and pentathlon (4342) outdoor school record in the Heptathlon (5797) and 4x400m (3.27.69) relay under Spence's watch.

Prior to coming to Penn State, Spence coached 14 conference champions, 26 all-conference performers, 22 regional qualifiers, 10 NCAA qualifiers, and three All-Americans at Missouri State. Spence, who was named NCAA Women's Outdoor Track and Field Mideast Region Assistant Coach of the Year for Jumps/Combined Events in 2006, was a part of a coaching staff that won four Missouri Valley Conference Team Championships in both the indoor (2003 and `04) and outdoor (2002 and `03) seasons. The team also finished three times as the conference runner-up for the team championship (indoor 2002, outdoor 2004 and `06).

Patrick Ebel
Assistant Coach

Patrick Ebel:Patrick Ebel is in his third year overseeing the Nittany Lion throws contingent, following a highly successful campaign during his first two years with Penn State.

Ebel, formerly of Division III powerhouse, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, was hired to lead the Nittany Lion throws contingent in August of 2012. Ebel enjoyed an outstanding coaching stint at UW-Oshkosh, coaching nearly 150 NCAA Division III All-Americans in the throws as well as 34 NCAA Champions. Since his arrival at UW-Oshkosh in 2001, Ebel has maintained one of the most prolific throws contingents in the NCAA. His event area was ranked number one in Division III since he arrived. Statistically speaking, 24 of his Titan throwers were ranked on the all-time NCAA Top 10 lists. All told, Ebel's athletes set UW-Oshkosh records on 43 occasions. Ebel also left a mark on the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), having coaching a grand total of 66 conference championships, and 14 WIAC record holders.


Kevin Kelly
Assistant Coach

Kevin Kelly: Kevin Kelly is in his third year in Happy Valley, overseeing the Nittany Lion men's jump and multi-events, as well as the men's and women's pole vault. Overall, Kelly has coached five Penn State All-America finishes and three Penn State school records. During the 2013-14 season, Kelly's group improved on the success from the previous year. Kelly led the Nittany Lions to three First Team All-America finishes, six NCAA First Round qualifiers, four Big Ten medalists, 12 Big Ten scoring performances, two Big Ten Athletes of the Week and two Penn State school records.

For his success with the men's team during the 2014 outdoor season, Kelly was named the 2014 USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Men's Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year. He had student-athletes score in every event in which he has athletes, accounting for 38 of the program's 78 points at the Big Ten meet. In addition, Steve Waithe won the league's triple jump title. Kelly qualified three for the NCAA final rounds - including two triple jumpers and a decathlete.

Ryan Foster
Assistant Coach

Ryan Foster: Ryan Foster, a multiple-time All-American and Big Ten Champion, was named assistant coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions in the fall of 2014. Foster was most recently the Penn State Track & Field Director of Operations for one year before taking over as an assistant coach for the Nittany Lions.

Foster will assist in the Nittany Lion program in coaching the mid-distance and distance squads and will also oversee various administrative roles, including facility management, equipment distribution, alumni relations, and marketing and promotions. Foster, who is a 2011 graduate, enjoyed one of the most successful careers in program history, finishing his tenure in the Blue and White with three All-American finishes - including a pair of NCAA bronze-medal efforts - as well as four Big Ten titles.


Additional staff members include outstanding high school, collegiate and club coaches. Varsity athletes will serve as instructors and counselors.


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