(Written By Con Marshall)
Riley Northrup, the head track and field coach at Chadron State College the past five seasons, has submitted his resignation effective at the end of July. CSC Athletic Director Joel Smith said the search for a replacement is underway.
In August 2017, the last time the Eagles needed a new track and field mentor after Brad Gamble abruptly resigned to become the head coach at Colorado Mesa, Northrup was appointed about 10 days later.
The Eagles had much success under both coaches.
Northrup said he regrets leaving his alma mater, but both he and his wife, Megan, have accepted positions at South Dakota State University at Brookings, where they will be close to their families. He will teach health and physical education and probably help coach track. She will head the university’s master’s degree program in dietetics.
“This is Megan’s dream job. She did not apply for it. They contacted her.” Northrup explained.
She has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and a master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science from SDSU, where she also was an excellent sprinter on the Jackrabbits’ track team after being a state champion while competing at Roosevelt High in Sioux Falls.
Northrup, 33, was 2010 honor graduate of Chadron State. He had been a standout all-around athlete at Hot Springs High, earning all-conference in both football and basketball, placing second in the high jump at the South Dakota State Meet as a sophomore and winning the event as a senior.
At Chadron State, he earned All-American honors by clearing 6-8 ¾ at the NCAA Division II National Indoor Meet in 2007, after going 6-10 ¼ earlier in the season for his collegiate best.
He received National Coaches Association academic honors three times while attending CSC.
Before becoming the Eagles’ head coach, he was on the track and field coaching staffs at Augustana University at Sioux Falls, S.D., and Ashland University in Ohio. He earned his master’s degree at Augustana in 2014.
As things turned out, Northrup was just getting warmed up as a high jumper while he was at CSC. He continued to compete while coaching at Augustana and Ashland by entering “open” meets and cleared at least seven-feet 10 times, topped by a leap of 7-2 ½.
The latter mark would have qualified him for the 2016 Olympic Trials, but an Achilles tendon problem ended his high jumping career.
During his tenure as the Eagles’ head coach, they won 17 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships and placed nine times at NCAA DII National Meets. Six school records have been set the last five years.
The CSC men had a particularly outstanding season in 2022, scoring 111 points and placing third at the RMAC Outdoor Meet. With only five seniors on this year’s rosters, Northrup expects the Eagles to fly even higher in the future. While leaking word that he had resigned, he handed over a list of nearly 30 freshmen he has signed to join the team for 2022-23.
During the 2022 season wrap-up story, Northrup noted the Eagles had 11 NCAA National Indoor and 8 National Outdoor Meet qualifying marks, and also posted 52 all-time, top-10 Chadron State marks. The team had four athletes compete at the DII National Indoor Meet and three outdoors.
The Northrups have two children. Ryker was born April 30, 2020 and Isle arrived a month ago on June 20.