EMU Cross Country/Track Tabs New Coach
Lewkowicz to Begin Royals' Tenure in Summer
HARRISONBURG, Va. --- Eastern Mennonite
University has announced the hiring of Jason Lewkowicz as its cross
country and track & field coach. Lewkowicz will finish out the
2010-11 athletic year at Hannibal-LaGrange University, where he
holds the same position, before moving to Harrisonburg this summer
to take over the reins of the Royals' program.
Lewkowicz replaces Matt Dougherty, who resigned as EMU's first combined cross country and track & field coach in May of 2010. Lester Zook served as interim cross country coach this past fall while Pete Nelson is currently the interim track & field coach.
"I'm really excited about having Jason join the athletic department staff," said Athletic Director Dave King. "He is a proven recruiter and program builder and I am delighted that he is willing to take on yet another re-building project here at EMU. The variety of his experiences and range of institutions he has worked at is great preparation for taking over our cross country and track & field program."
Lewkowicz has been in Hannibal, Mo., the past three seasons heading both the cross country and track & field programs. Before that he spent three years at UVa-Wise, in Wise, Va., coaching the cross country program all three seasons and starting up the track & field program in the fall of 2007.
"I'm definitely excited to join Eastern Mennonite University and have the opportunity to restore the cross country and track & field programs back to a place of prominence," Lewkowicz said. "And I'm excited to be back in Virginia where I started my coaching career."
Not only did he start coaching in Virginia, but Lewkowicz himself grew up in North Carolina and his wife is from the Roanoke area, adding to his draw to return to the East Coast.
Lewkowicz earned both his undergrad and master's degrees from Appalachian State in Boone, NC. He was also a high jumper on the track & field team during his time as a student.
He has coached 13 NAIA National Championship qualifiers during his time at Hannibal-LaGrange and UVa-Wise, as well as 59 athletes who have claimed all-conference awards. Lewkowicz also focuses on athletes in their role as students, and has had 12 NAIA Daktronics Scholar-Athletes and 47 academic all-conference award winners.
King said Lewkowicz's well-balanced approach makes him an ideal fit at EMU.
"As Athletic Director, Jason's commitment to faith development in his athletes is very appealing to me as we continue to pursue our goal of developing Christian character in young people through athletics," King said. "I am pleased that his vision and purpose in coaching is in line with that of our athletic department and the university. I am looking forward to all that he will bring to the athletic department, especially the relationships he will build with athletes helping them reach their potential."
Lewkowicz said he feels called to help each student-athlete do the best they can.
"God has blessed us all with abilities," he said, "and we need to harness that and get the most that we can out of it, and then give honor to Him no matter what the results are."
Despite small roster sizes in recent years at EMU, Lewkowicz sees a number of reasons to be excited.
"I like the facilities," he said. "It's more than I?ve ever had to work with. It's also a great area to recruit in and there is good talent in this area and in this state. We're in a position to improve rapidly and give athletes a chance to be impact performers from their first year."
Even with the small numbers, Lewkowicz is not inheriting a bare cupboard as Eastern Mennonite has still had a handful of national qualifiers in both cross country and track & field in the past few years.
Lewkowicz and his wife, Wendy, have three sons, Noah (6), Eli (3) and Asher (1).
This release is courtesy of the Eastern Mennonite University sports information department.