WICHITA, Kan. (Friends release) One of the most accomplished head coaching tenures in Friends University athletics history is coming to an end, as men’s and women’s track & field head coach Cole Davis has announced he is stepping down from the position. Assistant coach and current men’s and women’s cross country head coach Jason Parr will guide the program on an interim basis.
"Cole has done a magnificent job leading our track program,” said Dr. Rob Ramseyer, Friends University Athletic Director. “He is one of the top coaches in the country and his teams have been successful on the track, in the classroom, and in the community. He is leaving the program in a healthy place and we anticipate being able to build upon the foundation he set to continue to have one of the top programs in the country."
From the moment Davis stepped on campus in 2011, he began building what is now a nationally renowned, elite program in all facets.
Most recently, Davis guided the women’s outdoor track & field squad to their fifth straight KCAC championship, with the men’s team finishing as the conference runner-up.
“Words cannot describe the feelings that have been going through my mind and heart the last couple weeks, as this has been one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my life,” Davis said. “Wichita has been my home for the last nine years, and it has been an absolute pleasure to be the Head Track & Field Coach at Friends University. I have given my resignation, with my last day being Oct. 9, 2019 and I will be making the move to Denver, Colorado. A great opportunity (non-coaching) has presented itself and I am excited to start the next chapter of my life.”
“I want to thank the Friends Administration (Dr. Carey and Dr. Ramseyer) for being a great leadership team during part of my time here in Wichita. Our program could not have accomplished anything without their continued support. I believe I had one of the best staffs in the country, and I want to thank them for everything they did to support my vision for the program. Their dedication to excellence and passion for their jobs helped our student-athletes excel in both the classroom and on the track.”
During his time in Wichita, Davis has mentored over 150 individual conference champions and his athletes have broken over 80 school records. The women’s program has not placed lower than third at any track and field conference championship meet since his arrival and they have won the indoor & outdoor conference titles for five straight seasons dating back to the 2015 indoor championship.
Prior to Davis’ arrival, Friends University had one national champion in program history. But that’s ancient history now, as the Falcons have won eight national titles in just the past four years.
The national success culminated with the Women’s Indoor Falcons finishing fourth at the 2018 NAIA National Meet, resulting in the first trophy in any sport in school history.
The Falcons weren’t done though as the women’s outdoor team posted a sixth place showing at the NAIA Outdoor Championships, the highest finish in team history.
Overall, Davis has recruited and developed 85 NAIA All-Americans in the events of the 60, 100, 200, 400, 600, 60 Hurdles, 4x100, 4x400, 4x800, Long Jump, High Jump, Triple Jump, Pentathlon, Heptathlon, and Javelin.
“I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best teams and athletes in school history and I look forward to seeing the continued success of the program after my departure,” Davis continued. “I want to thank all of my current and former athletes for making this program what it is today. I hope the community will continue to support this team and show what it means to be a part of the Friends track and field family. This team is destined for great things in the near future and I will always be a huge supporter of this team and athletic department.”
“I want to send a special thank you to former Athletic Director Joe Zimmerman for taking a chance on me back in 2011. Without his support and guidance, I would not have been able to grow into the coach that I am today. I also want to give a huge thank you to the athletic training department, especially Robin Johnson. He is the best at what he does, and I can’t thank him enough for his support of our athletes and our program.”
Below is a list of accomplishments for Davis and the program he helped foster:
11X KCAC Coach of the Year
5X NAIA South Central Region Coach of the Year
23 KCAC team championships
176 individual KCAC Champions
Nine KCAC Athletes of the Meet (High Point Award)
95 NAIA All-Americans
Eight national champions
65 school records
Chelsea Baker was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the 2017 Indoor National Meet
2018 men & women were named the NAIA National Team of Character for Indoor Track & Field
2018 Indoor Track & Field Women – fourth Place at Nationals – First trophy for any sport in school history
Increased roster from 40 to 100+