CLAREMORE — The Rogers State Athletic Department and Athletic Director Chris Ratcliff have announced the appointment of Matt Kennedy as the Head Coach of the Hillcat Cross Country and Track & Field programs.
“We are excited to welcome Matt to the Hillcat family,” Ratcliff said. “We are elated to find a coach of Matt’s experience both as a head and assistant coach, as he brings a wealth of experience and success to the Hillcat cross country and track & field programs.”
“I am excited and honored to be the next head coach at RSU,” Kennedy said. “I would like to thank Chris Ratcliff, Sara Braun, Chris McCormick, and the entire RSU family for this great opportunity and for making me feel welcome.”
Kennedy joins Rogers State from Oklahoma Baptist, where he has served as Head Coach for the cross country programs and Assistant Coach for the Bison track & field programs. Kennedy will take over for Chris McCormick, who created the cross country and track & field programs and has announced his retirement from collegiate coaching in December.
“Matt also brings with him a strong familiarity both within the state of Oklahoma and the central region,” Ratcliff said. “It will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow and build our cross country and track & field programs.”
The Wichita Falls, Texas native will come to College Hill after spending the last eight and a half years with the Oklahoma Baptist program. Kennedy has been the head coach of the women’s cross country program since 2014 and took over the men’s cross country program in 2018. Kennedy has been an assistant with Track & Field since arriving on campus for his second stint with the Bison in June of 2011.
“My time at OBU has provided me with some of the most enjoyable experiences of my life,” Kennedy said. “I am lucky to have developed lifelong friendships. I will be forever grateful to my friend and mentor Ford Mastin for the opportunities he has allowed me.”
Since becoming postseason eligible in 2017, after the transition from the NAIA, Kennedy has guided the Bison to four Great American Conference Cross Country Championships and two NCAA National Championship appearances. Kennedy’s teams just swept the Great American Conference Team Championships in late October, with the Women’s and Men’s programs winning their respective conference titles. Overall, Kennedy has been named Great American Conference Coach of the Year four times, including a sweep of the honors this season.
Under Kennedy’s direction, the Bison won three-straight GAC Championships on the women’s side. They also qualified for the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Division II National Championships. The women’s program has been ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 25 for 20 consecutive weeks and has finished in the top five in the central region in three-consecutive seasons.
Kennedy took over the men’s cross country program in 2018 and led them to a runner-up finish in his first season at the helm. Under his guidance, the men’s program reached the Top 10 in the USTFCCCA regional ranking for the first time in school history and recorded their best-ever finish at the regional meet with a 13th overall.