MARS HILL, N.C. – Exciting changes will occur in the Mars Hill Cross Country and Track and Field programs at Mars Hill University.
Mike Owens will continue to serve as our men's and women's Head Coach for Cross Country. Since beginning these two programs in 1992, Coach Owens has won 29 South Atlantic Conference Championships and 12 NCAA Regional Championships. His men's teams won 18 consecutive SAC Championships between 1996 and 2014. During his career as the head coach for cross country, Owens won 30 SAC Coach of the Year Awards and has been named as the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year on 12 occasions. Owens recently finished his 25th year as the head coach for the cross country programs and his 30th year at Mars Hill University.
According to Athletic Director David Riggins, "Coach Owens is one of the most decorated coaches in South Atlantic Conference history. We are happy that he will continue to build that legacy for years to come as a valued part of our athletic family."
Coach Brad Nagel will be introduced as the new Head Track and Field Coach effective immediately. Coach Nagel has served as the assistant coach in cross country and track and field since 2009. He will continue to hold the assistant's position in cross country. Brad was a stellar track and field athlete at Mars Hill and still holds the decathlon record at Mars Hill. Coach Nagel is also being named as Mars Hill's Strength and Conditioning Coach after recently passing all the certification requirements necessary to hold that position.
Riggins stated, "Brad is one of the up and coming coaches in the NCAA. Our student-athletes will benefit from Brad's knowledge of and passion for the sports he coaches."
"It is an honor and privilege to accept the new positions that have been given to me," Nagel said. "Mars Hill has been a home to me for the last 14 years and I am excited to start this new chapter in my life with my family. I want to thank President Tony Floyd, Athletic Director David Riggins and Mike Owens for believing in me and trusting me to serve the University in this capacity."
While at Mars Hill, Nagel was named All-Conference in the pole vault four years in a row. In his very first season, he earned MVP honors and Freshman of the Year. In his final Decathlon meet, Nagel broke the school record, while also setting eight personal records. Following his collegiate career at Mars Hill, Nagel has been certified by the USATF as a Level 2 Coach in the Sprints, Hurdles, Relays, Jumps and Throws.
"Over the past 14 years, Bradley has grown from a student-athlete to one of the most respected and qualified track and field coaches in the Southeast at any level, "Mike Owens stated. He added, "His love for and loyalty to Mars Hill is reflected in the performances of his athletes both on and off the track."
Nagel resides in Asheville with his wife Emily who also ran collegiate cross country and track at UNC Asheville. The couple has two sons, Faxon age two and a newborn named Titus.