Coaches - Athletics
Head Track and Field Coach
Head Track and Field Coach/Cross Country Chris Gafner
Chris Gafner is in his 15th year at Vincennes University and his 13th season as head coach of the VU Men's and Women's Track & Field and Cross Country Teams. He also coaches VU Cross Country student-athletes to compete in the NJCAA Half-Marathon Championship Meet each season.
Since Coach Gafner took over the Trailblazer programs, VU has had 27 national champions and 77 NJCAA All-Americans. In addition, VU has produced the NJCAA careers of five NJCAA national athletes of the year, three NJCAA national records and 196 national placers. Coach Gafner was the 2012 NJCAA Coach of the Year.
The Trailblazer men and women have turned in 22 top-10 team finishes and five top-5 team performances at indoor and outdoor national championship meets during Coach Gafner’s VU tenure.
In addition to athletic success, Coach Gafner’s cross country and track & field teams have won numerous academic awards. Both teams have finished in the top 3 nationally in team grade-point average on several occasions and have claimed numerous individual NJCAA and USTFCCCA Academic All-American awards.
Coach Gafner is level 2 certified by United States Track & Field in the jumps, sprints, hurdles and relays.
Prior to VU, Coach Gafner was an assistant track & field and cross country coach at Lansing Community College in 2002 and 2003. He was the head track & field and cross country coach for the 2001 and 2002 seasons at Mt. Vernon Academy in Salt Lake City, UT.
A 2001 graduate of Siena Heights University, he also attended Lansing Community College. During his college career, Coach Gafner was a seven-time national qualifier in track and a member of two national champion cross country teams.
Coach Gafner is a devoted family man. He is married to his wife, Linzie and has three children: John, Emma and James.
812-888-5178 or email@example.com
Assistant Coach Tim Marsee
Tim Marsee has been coaching track & field athletes for over 17 years and he is looking forward to his 10th highly successful year working with pole vaulters, throwers and multis for the Trailblazers when the 2018 spring season arrives. During that time, Marsee – who is a USATF Level I-certified coach - has helped VU to 18 national championships - 14 in pole vault, three in throwing events and two in multis.
Also, Trailblazer athletes working closely with Marsee have posted seven national runner-up finishes, while amassing more than 20 NJCAA All-American awards and more than 30 USTFCCCA All-American honors. Among the VU pole vaulters reaching All-American status in recent years was Marsee’s son, Blake. In addition, VU has had three national record-holders in events that Marsee focuses on.
As a result of all that success, Marsee is a four-time NJCAA Assistant Coach of the Year and was the 2015, as well as 2017 USA Track & Field Association Assistant Coach of the Year for the Atlantic Division.
Along with the VU success, Marsee was the head track & field coach at South Knox High School for six years, registering a meet record of 279 wins and 24 losses plus individual state champions and record-holders. The victories included sectional championships in 2006 and ’07 and the 2006 Blue Chip Conference title. Marsee was the conference coach of the year that season as well.
Coach Marsee and his wife of 28 years, Sara, have two children, Brianne and Blake, and a granddaughter, Sydney Blake.
Assistant Track & Field/Cross Country Coach Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas is in his first year as an assistant track and field coach. He is a 2016 graduate of Vincennes University. He finished out his career at Grand Valley State University. He has volunteered at his alma mater, South Central High School. During his years at VU, he competed as a long jumper and was awarded Field Athlete of the Year in 2015 as well as All American status. He is the current school record holder in long jump with a jump of 7.71 meters. Thomas is the indoor school record holder at Grand Valley State University as well with a jump of 7.66 meters.
Office Phone: (812)888-4654
Cell Phone: (616)329-3881