Greg Thiel is in his fifth season leading the Warriors track and field programs in 2016-17. Thiel is a 29-year veteran of athletics, ranging from high school to NCAA Division I.
In just four years at the helm of the fledging SWU track and field program, Thiel has coached 41 NCCAA All-Americans and six national champions. The women's 4x400 relay team won the 2016 NCCAA Indoor National Championships title for the second year in a row. At the NCCAA Outdoor National Championships, Javon Barmore won the triple jump, Skylar Julian won the 100-meter hurldes, and the women's 4x100 relay team won national titles. Brandi Jackson was the winner of the women’s 400 meters at the 2015 NCCAA Outdoor Championship Meet while the women’s 4x400 meter relay team won the first track and field national championship in school history in February 2015 at the NCCAA Indoor Championship Meet.
In their first year as a program in the spring of 2014, Thiel guided the Warriors to a tenth place finish at NCCAA Indoor National Championships while the men placed 14th. SWU qualified three for the NAIA Indoor National National Championships as Keith Johnson placed 14th in the 400 meters, Jessica Maggio took 16th in the 60-meter hurdles and Amber King placed 22nd in the long jump and 26th in the triple jump.
In the outdoor season, the women finished third in the Southern States Athletic Conference Championship while the men placed fourth. The Warriors won eight events overall at the meet, setting seven conference records and placing 19 in the top three. The Warriors had a combined 35 finishes in the top eight.
The women went on to finish 14th at the NCCAA Outdoor National Championships while the men placed 20th. The Warriors had a combined seven top-eight placements including the best finish of the meet, a fourth place showing by Jhante McMillan in the 400-meter hurdles. At the NAIA Outdoor National Championships the Warriors had two individual qualifiers as well as one relay.
Never one to shy away from his faith and love for Jesus Christ, Thiel leads numerous Bible studies with his teams and willingly shares his testimony to any and everyone.
Before coming to SWU to start the track and field program, Thiel spent seven years as a high school athletic director and administrator in Florida. In those roles he helped to build new facilities, coached, developed strength programs, negotiated apparel contracts, started new programs, managed budgets and instituted various Bible Studies and leadership and spiritual development programs for his department.
Thiel was previously the head track and field and cross country coach at the University of South Florida in Tampa for six years. He coached 17 All-Americans and 60 conference champions at USF, and his 2003 women’s outdoor track and field team won its first-ever Conference USA (C-USA) Championship. For his efforts, he was named the C-USA Women’s Track and Field Coach of the Year. The Bulls also finished as the runner-up in the 2004 Outdoor, 2003 Indoor and 2002 Outdoor C-USA meets on the women’s side.
Outside the competitive arena, Thiel’s teams also excelled in the classroom. During his tenure the women’s cross country teams have been named Academic All-America programs five times (2001-05) while his men’s cross country teams have received the honor three times (2002-05). On the track side, the women were tabbed from 2002-04 and the men in 2003. An Academic All-America program holds one of the top 20 grade point averages in America.
In addition, his 2001 women’s track team was tabbed the Conference USA Academic Team of the Year boasting a 3.3 grade point average.
Before taking the reins at USF, Thiel was an assistant with the Bulls. In that role he helped to develop and launch the program. He was the recruiting coordinator for sprints, throws and hurdles and directly responsible for the development of nine All-Americans and five Olympians. In addition, he planned, organized and executed conference championship meets in 1993, 1995 and 1999.
Thiel also spent time in charge of Track and Field at Leto High School prior to his time at USF. While there, he was a two-time coach of the year and led the women’s side to a district and regional championship in 1989.
Thiel is a graduate of the University of Tampa.