In his 15th season as head coach of the UIC men's and women's cross country and track and field teams is Jim Knoedel, who has constructed a program that enters every season with high expectations.
During the 2013 cross country season under Knoedel, Tess Ehrhardt was named Horizon League Women's Athlete of the Year. Knoedel also helped two athletes to the All-Horizon League First team in Ehrhardt and Rebecca Zaiter. In the 2013-14 Indoor and Outdoor track & field seasons Knoedel coached five Horizon League Champions. Seyi Ogunleye (Outdoor triple jump), Richmond Richter (Indoor triple jump), Sharon Mwale (Outdoor high jump), Ehrhardt (Indoor 3,000m run) and Zaiter (Indoor 800m run) were all victorious at the Horizon League Championships.
Since his arrival at UIC in 1996, Knoedel has taken men's and women's cross country programs that never finished above sixth place in conference championship and turned them into perennial contenders, with school-best finishes for both teams occurring in the last four years. Knoedel also resurrected UIC's track and field program in 2001 and molded both men's and women's squads into contention for individual and team titles in the Horizon League ranks.
Knoedel came to UIC after six remarkably successful seasons as an assistant coach at Loyola. A 1974 graduate of the University of Iowa, Knoedel received his bachelor's degree in physical education and was a member of the track and cross-country squads there. He furthered his education at Iowa State, where he earned a master's degree in biomechanics in 1983.
Sandwiched between higher education degrees was a stint as head coach at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where he was responsible for the development of the women's track program. In 1981, Knoedel moved on to Iowa State to pursue his master's and serve as a graduate assistant track coach.
After receiving his master's degree, Knoedel accepted a position as assistant coach at Drake University and was eventually promoted to head coach. In three seasons at Drake, Knoedel coached five All-Americans before moving on to Northwestern University as an assistant coach from 1984-1986. Two years later, he became an assistant at Loyola.
At Loyola, Knoedel was part of a program perennially rated among the top in the region. Working with the cross country team in the fall and in charge of sprinters and field athletes during the indoor and outdoor track seasons, Knoedel tutored both the men and women's teams and annually helped bring in some of the area's top student-athletes.
The USA Track and Field National Office selected Knoedel as the head coach for two United States teams. In 1996 he coached the USA Women's Ekiden team competing in Yokohama, Japan, and in 1999, the Junior Men's Coach at the World Cross Country Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Junior Team placed a surprising sixth out of 81 competing countries.
Most recently Knoedel was selected to serve on the USA Track & Field National Team staff as the decathlon/heptathlon coach for the 2007 USA vs. Germany Combined Events competition in Munich in August.