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Rich Weinhandl Retirement

posted Jul 17, 2013, 7:59 AM by ITCCOA Webmaster   [ updated Jul 17, 2013, 10:23 AM ]

Rich Weinhandl Soared With the Eagles


Elgin, IL - For 46 years, Rich Weinhandl has been involved with the sports of cross country and track and field.  First as a Hall of Fame collegiate athlete, then as a high school coach, and finally as a collegiate coach, he has made a huge impact on each leg of the journey.  Weinhandl’s last stop of his coaching career was Judson University and he is now retiring as Head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach for the Eagles.
As an athlete, Weinhandl trained and competed with world class and nationally talented athletes. He competed in two high school state championships and two college championships. His final race came at age 44 in the Masters National Championship 880yd run. His collegiate 880yd track record at Greenville College stood for 28 years before being broken with a converted 800m time. Later, he was inducted in the Greenville College Hall of Fame.
In 1974, he became a track and field official and later received the highest status as a Certified Official. Besides officiating many high school boys’ sectionals championships, Rich also has officiated several state boy's and girl's championships. The pinnacle of his officiating career came when he was assigned to be one of the three starters at the Illinois state track and field championships.
His coaching career began in 1990 at Marengo High School. He was one of the first Head Coaches allowed by the IHSA to coach without a teaching certificate. Marengo had decided to drop its cross country programs as only one girl and two boys remained, but Coach Weinhandl convinced the school board to allow him to rebuild the program. At Marengo, he coached a two-time All-State athlete in Chad Zeman. He also coached five state qualifiers.
After 18 years at the high school level, he left to take on another rebuilding project, but this time at the collegiate level at Judson University. Weinhandl restarted the cross country programs at Judson in 2008 and has enjoyed some great success. In five years, he saw six athletes qualify for the NAIA Nationals in cross country. One of these athletes and Weinhandl's first recruit to Judson, Rachael Dean, would eventually go on to become a NAIA All-American in both cross country and track and field. He also took five individuals and a relay team to the NAIA track and field championships over the course of three seasons, including All-American high jumper Caleb Sutton, who finished seventh in the country in 2012. Weinhandl was instrumental in bringing the NCCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships to Joliet, IL where Judson served as the host for three years.
"Rich is a servant leader and his service to our university and athletic department has been much appreciated," Judson Athletic Director Joel Cotton states. "Personally, I will miss him as I consider him a close friend and mentor and I have learned much from his example of Godly leadership. The future is bright for the cross country and track and field programs to move forward on the strong foundation that Rich has built."
One of Weinhandl's former athletes, Tim Ciochon, a 2012 Judson graduate, will be taking over the cross country program at Judson as the new head coach for both the men and women. The head coach for men's and women's track and field will be named this summer.
ITCCOA Webmaster,
Jul 17, 2013, 9:54 AM