The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

June 24, 2012

Former MSSU All-American Kyle Rutledge takes job with Pittsburg State

During his All-American pole vaulting career at Missouri Southern, Kyle Rutledge never dreamed about one day becoming a coach at rival Pittsburg State.

“Not really,” Rutledge said with a laugh. “Pitt State has an excellent program. It’s an honor to have  a chance to be part of that program and work with Coach (Russ) Jewett.”

Rutledge, an assistant track coach at Missouri S&T in Rolla for the last three seasons, has been hired as an assistant track coach at Pittsburg State. His last day at Missouri S&T is Friday, and his first day at PSU is Monday, July 2.

“We are excited to have Kyle join our coaching staff,” Jewett said in a press release. “He has been very successful coaching and recruiting at the NCAA Division II level and is certainly familiar with the MIAA.

“Kyle has experience coaching just about every event in track and field, and he has great organizational skills as well as a super work ethic. He will be a strong asset to Gorilla track and field and to Pittsburg State University.”

Tom Rutledge, Missouri Southern’s track coach for the last 23 seasons, has no problem with his son coaching the Gorillas.

“I’m happy for him,” Tom said. “Russ Jewett is a good friend of mine. They are tough to beat.

“But it’s going to be interesting. I’m about at the end of my road and he’s starting his road, so that’s good. I hope he can beat every team except one. Don’t beat us.”

And there is one huge bonus for Tom and his wife, Karen.

“We’re tickled to death to get to see the granddaughter (Emery, who is almost five months old),” Tom said. “Her family (Kyle’s wife, Natalie) is from St. Paul, so it’s a good move for everyone.”

Kyle’s main coaching duties with the Gorillas will be the pole vault, multi events and high jump. He’’ll also help with the sprinters.

Kyle joins the rest of the PSU track program in looking forward to moving into the new indoor track facility that will be built during the next two or three years.

“We will have probably the best indoor facility in the nation I believe,” Kyle said. “A 300-meter track ... it’s going to be very hard to beat what we will have facility-wise. That’s very appealing to me, knowing they are dedicated to going to that next level.”

At Missouri Southern, Kyle qualified for the Division II indoor and outdoor pole vault every year from 2003 through 2006, highlighted by a second-place finish indoors in 2006 and a third place outdoors in 2005.

He coached two years at Missouri Southern, working with the high jump, long jump, pole vault and multi events. He spent one season at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park before going to Missouri S&T where he worked with sprints, hurdles, jumps, pole vault, throws and multi events.

Since 2007, Kyle has coached 23 All-Americans — 20 in Division II and three in junior college. The athletes he coached at Missouri S&T set 19 school records.

“Coach (Sterling) Martin at S&T is an outstanding coach,” Kyle said. “He’s done a great job for me. We’ve worked hard to get the program to have continued success. This (going to PSU) was a hard decision from that point. We’ve put in a lot of time on those kids, and they are outstanding young men and women.”

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