2017 Cross Country
Head Coach Karen Brandt
Contact Information for Coach Brandt
Office phone: 419-358-3898
Coach Karen Brandt has been an integral component in the upswing in the cross country and track and field teams’ accomplishments. Since taking the reins in the autumn of 2011, Brandt has guided the teams to consistent improvement, and in some cases, unprecedented success.
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams have reached third place finishes in the team aspect of the HCAC championship meet after perennially placing near the bottom of the field prior to her arrival. Additionally, Bluffton’s first-in-school history individual men’s conference champion was crowned at the 2014 meet.
On the track and field side of the equation, Brandt has assembled a high quality staff of assistant coaches, all accomplished in their own rights as athletes, and now bringing passion and expertise to their respective event groups.
To date, over 70 times track and field school records have fallen under Brandt’s watch. Individual conference champions have become common occurrences. All-Ohio champions and All-American performances at the indoor and outdoor NCAA Division III national championships have highlighted the accomplishments of the past two years. Of equal importance are the academic accolades Brandt’s athletes have garnered at both the conference and national level during her tenure.
Brandt previously coached the Bloomsburg (Pa.) University women's cross country team to the NCAA Division II national championship meet in 2007 where they placed 15th after having won both the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and the NCAA Division II East Region championships, earning Brandt conference and regional coach of the year honors. That team included the first female cross country All-American in school history. During her decade at Bloomsburg (1999-2009), she helped to develop three other all-Americans, two in the women's 10,000-meter run and one, two-time honoree in men's cross country; four national cross country championship qualifiers; eight female qualifiers for the national track and field championship; eight PSAC track champions; and numerous All-PSAC and All-Region cross country runners, All-Conference track athletes, and All-Academic individuals and teams honored by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
After leaving Bloomsburg, Brandt coached at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne (2009-2010) and was subsequently an English and mathematics teacher in a residential program for girls in Warfordsburg, Pa. Her year-plus at Indiana Tech produced 35 NAIA national qualifying performances and seven all-American finishes in two indoor track seasons; 17 national qualifiers and seven all-Americans in one outdoor track season; and one male national qualifier in one cross country season.
Brandt earned both her undergraduate in Humanities and her Master's in American Studies from the Pennsylvania State University Capital College, Harrisburg, Pa. A five-time qualifier for the Boston Marathon, Brandt has also coached track and cross country at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., from 1998-99, and at Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown, Pa., from 1991-97. From 1989-98, she taught English and public speaking at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Area High School.
Brandt resides in Bluffton along with her husband/co-coach, Jim Brandt, and their family of three cats.
Assistant Coach Jim Brandt
Contact info for Coach Jim Brandt
Office phone: 419-358-3031
James Brandt coaches alongside his wife, Karen Brandt, the head cross country and track and field coach at Bluffton University. During their coaching tenure at Division II Bloomsburg University (Bloomsburg, PA), the Brandts saw much success with the distance-based program of the Huskies.
As the distance/middle distance track and co-cross country coach along with Karen, Brandt has had the pleasure of seeing the distance squad grow and prosper under their direction. Theirs is a close coaching relationship of shared responsibilities and a symbiosis of ideas and direction for their runners. Their collective love of running and coaching comes through in the enthusiasm for their athletes that they share.
In addition to his Bluffton athletes, Brandt also currently coaches a female post-collegian who first started running for him as a 9th grader at Lower Dauphin High School. She competes primarily at the marathon distance with accolades including the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, the World Military Games, national cross country championships and both the Boston and Marine Corp marathons. A member of the Air National Guard, she often represents the regular Air Force and was named the 2011 Air Force Female Athlete of the Year.
Along with his wife, Brandt has set his sights on developing the Bluffton University cross country and track and field teams into a perennial power in the HCAC. Also former teacher, he will work to motivate their student-athletes toward top academic success as well.
Assistant Coach Jared Krout
Contact info for Coach KROUT
Office phone: 419-358-3031
Jared Krout enters his second season at Bluffton University as an assistant coach for the track and cross country team.
Krout, a 2006 Arlington High School graduate, was an 8-time All-Ohio athlete in Track & Field. He then competed at Hillsdale College as a sprinter and long jumper. He was a 10-time conference champion in the GLIAC and was named NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Track Athlete of the Year in 2007 and 2008. Throughout his career, Krout was a 6-time All-American athlete in a combination of the 200m, 400m, and Long Jump. He still holds outdoor school records in the 400m (46.69) and Long Jump (25’-2.75”) and the indoor school record for 200m (21.85) at Hillsdale.
Following graduation, Krout became an assistant track & field/strength & conditioning coach for Hillsdale and worked with the sprinters and hurdlers. While at Hillsdale, the sprints and hurdles established school records in the men’s 60m hurdles and women’s 100m hurdles. They also produced national qualifiers in the men’s 400m dash and women’s 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles.
In 2014, Krout joined the Liberty-Benton High School Track & Field coaching staff as an assistant boys coach and worked with the team's sprinters, hurdlers, and jumpers. Then, in 2015, he was appointed head coach of the girls' track & field program at Liberty-Benton High School. From 2014-16, the sprints and jumps produced 18 state qualifiers, five school records, five individual state championships, and the girls’ Division II state record in the 100m. As head coach, he also guided the girls program to back-to-back OHSAA Track & Field State Championships in 2015 and 2016.
Krout earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physical Education from Hillsdale College in 2010. He is also an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and has his Track & Field Technical Coaching certification through the USTFCCCA. He is pursuing his master’s degree at Bluffton University and lives in Findlay with his wife, Circe.