Coaches - Athletics
Cross Country Coach
Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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