BOZEMAN — (Editor's Note: Montana State Press Release)
Longtime Montana State track and field jumps coach Tom Eitel is set to retire from coaching with Wednesday serving as his last day on the Bobcat staff.
Eitel has been a familiar face in the confines of the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse and at the Bobcat Track & Field Complex for the better part of a quarter century. Eitel originally served as a member of the MSU coaching staff from 1989-91 and has served full-time in his current role coaching MSU's jumps and multi event athletes since 1996. He's also spent time coaching the Bobcat hurdle events.
"Tom had an incredible coaching career with amazing accomplishments," said Lyle Weese, Montana State's Dale Kennedy Director of Track and Field. "Even with incredible accomplishments, he always made it about what was best for the student-athletes.
"Tom will be missed by the athletic department staff and student-athletes, but his contributions to the track and field program will be felt for years to come."
While at Montana State, Eitel has coached 22 student-athletes to 53 individual conference titles. He had student-athletes accumulate a combined 157 All-Big Sky Conference performances under his tutelage. At the national level, Eitel had 21 Bobcats under his direction qualify for NCAA Championship appearances with 13 earning All-America distinction. His highest ever performing athlete came in the form of Ellie Rudy, who earned back-to-back indoor national championships in the pole vault in 2007 and 2008, and is the MSU women's program's only individual NCAA title holder.
Eitel's athletes have been some of the best for the program during his time heading Montana State's jumps group. All 20 of MSU's jumps records have occurred while Eitel has been on the Bobcat coaching staff.
"I've enjoyed being able to have the opportunity to coach at Montana State," Eitel said. "It's been great to be a part of this program and be able to be a part of the lives of the student-athletes that have come through here. It's always been all about them and that has been the best thing about what I've been able to do."
Eitel was a former Bobcat track and field athlete prior to his coaching career. He began his collegiate athletic career at Iowa State before finishing his eligibility with Montana State. As a Bobcat, he was the 1982 Big Sky Conference Champion in the pole vault and held the school record of 16-09.00 for eight years.
"Tom has been an outstanding teacher, mentor, and ambassador for MSU Track and Field," said Director of Athletics Leon Costello. "I want to thank him for all of his years of service to the Bobcat athletic department and wish him well in his retirement adventures."
A celebration is in the process of being planned for this fall to celebrate Eitel's career coaching at MSU. A nationwide search is ongoing for Montana State's vacancy on its coaching staff.