Waters Named New Head Coach of Taylor Track and Field


UPLAND, Ind. – Taylor University and Athletics Director, Kyle Gould, announced on Tuesday, that Rod Waters had been named the new head coach for the TU track and field programs and will begin immediately.


“After a search process that led us to many qualified candidates, Coach Waters stuck out to us as uniquely qualified to lead this program forward,” stated Gould. “He has demonstrated an ability to recruit quality student-athletes and develop them into consistent performers at the conference and national levels. Rod also has a strong desire to use his skills at a Christian university like Taylor and we cannot wait to have him get started with our men’s and women’s track and field teams.”


Waters comes on board at Taylor after a successful five-year stint at the helm of the Trine University track and field programs, where he built the Thunder teams into contenders within the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association at the NCAA Division III level.


“I want to first thank Athletics Director Kyle Gould and the Taylor administration for offering me such an amazing opportunity,” said Waters. “I am extremely honored and very blessed to be named the next head coach of track and field at Taylor University. It was apparent to me during the interview process that this was where I wanted to continue my career and integrate my family.”


During his time building up the track and field programs at Trine, Waters saw his student-athletes pile up 71 MIAA Individual Championships, 35 USTFCCCA All-Region honors and 12 NCAA All-American nods, along with four MIAA Most Valuable Track Athlete awards and five MIAA Most Valuable Field Athlete honors. The Thunder also broke five program records in their first season with Waters and set 21 new school records during year two.


The rapid improvement within the program was on full display with the team performances at the MIAA Championships, where the Trine men finished fifth in the nine-team event during Waters’ first year with the program, before rattling off one third-place and three second-place finishes in each of the past four MIAA Outdoor Championships. Trine also excelled on the indoor track, winning the MIAA Indoor Championship in 2016, before ending second in the past two years.


The Trine women’s program also made similar strides during Waters’ tenure, climbing from seventh in his first year to back-to-back, fourth-place showings at the league’s outdoor meet in the past two years. The Thunder also finished fifth, third and second in successive years at the MIAA Indoor Championships.


Prior to taking over the reins at Trine, Waters coached on staff for three years at NCAA Division I IPFW, leading his athletes to six program records in that time, after moving across town from his alma mater, Indiana Tech.


Waters began his collegiate coaching career with Indiana Tech, mentoring 20 NAIA National Qualifiers and seven All-Americans in his only year on staff, while helping the Warriors break 10 program records.


The Fort Wayne, Indiana native earned a degree in business administration in 2009 from Indiana Tech, after beginning his collegiate career at Bethel. During his career on the track, Waters garnered eight NAIA All-American awards and raced to the 2008 NAIA National Championship in the 110-meter high hurdles.


Waters is certified by the USTFCCCA as a specialist in sprints, hurdles, relays, jumps and strength and conditioning and also carries USATF Level II certification in sprints, hurdles and relays.


“I am walking into a great situation, as Taylor has high academics, a beautiful campus with great facilities and great people,” added Waters. “This is an amazing opportunity and I am looking forward to making the best of it as we build on the success of Taylor Track and Field.”


Waters will take over the position from Ted Bowers, who returned to Upland to serve in an interim role throughout the 2017-2018 season after retiring in 2013.


During the past season under Bowers, the Trojans swept the Crossroads League Championships on the women’s side and saw the men’s and women’s programs post Top-25 team finishes at the NAIA Indoor and Outdoor National Championships.