- Athletics Home
- Men's Sports
- Women's Sports
- Inside Athletics
As he enters his 33nd season as Cross Country and Men's Track Coach, Jim Helmer has changed very little of the formula for success his teams have enjoyed the past three decades.
After graduation from Southwestern in 1971, Coach Helmer became the track and cross country coach at Winfield High School for seven years (1971-1978), winning state championships in cross country in 1973 and 1974, grabbing regional championships in track and field in 1977 and 1978, and winning the Ark Valley League Championship in 1978, the first league track crown in WHS history.
In the fall of 1978, Helmer returned to his alma mater and immediately set out to make the Southwestern track and cross country programs competitive at the conference, regional, and national level, a goal the Lyons, KS, native has accomplished.
After finishing third in the KCAC cross country championships in 1978 and 1979, Helmer's harriers have won 31 straight men's KCAC fall running championships (1980-2010), while his track and field teams have romped to 28 consecutive conference crowns (1983-2010) after four straight second-place finishes.
Individually, Helmer's work has produced a total of seven NAIA National Champions in men's cross country and track. 88 of his athletes have earned NAIA All-American status a total of 201 times. During his tenure 333 separate athletes have earned All-conference status in Track & Field and 146 in Cross Country.
As coach of the Moundbuilder men's track and cross country program at Southwestern, Helmer has been named KCAC Cross Country Coach of the Year 30 times, KCAC Men's Track Coach of the Year 29 times, NAIA District 10 Cross Country Coach of the Year 1984-1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1993, NAIA District 10 Track Coach of the Year 1983-1991, 1993, and 1994, and NAIA Area Three Track Coach of the Year 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, and for cross country in 1992 and 1993. He was also named NAIA Great Plains Region Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1994, NAIA Region IV in 2000, 2005, and 2007, Region IV Indoor Track Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and Region IV Outdoor Track Coach of the Year in 2007.
In addition to his accomplishments as a coach, Helmer is the past President of the NAIA Track Coach Association and NAIA Cross Country Coaches Association.
In the fall of 1991, Helmer was honored with is induction into the Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame for his unparalleled achievements as a coach, and in 2001, he was inducted into the NAIA Cross Country Hall of Fame, in the category of coach. Only 9 other coaches have been awarded this honor in cross country since 1956.
The holder of a master's degree from Wichita State University, Helmer and his wife Deb are the parents of three children, Cory, a former SC All-American, Cassie, a former two time All-American, and Ashley.
Three-time All-American and current school record holder (Triple Jump indoors and outdoors, Long Jump indoors) T.J. Harris is in his fourth season as the field events coach for the Moundbuilders. He brings seven years of coaching experience to the Southwestern College staff.
During his time with the Moundbuilders as a student athlete, Harris was undefeated in the KCAC in both the long and triple jump.
Harris has coached two national champions and 14 All-Americans.
During the 2008 season while coaching at Johnson County Community College, Harris was the only coach in the NJCAA to coach All-America performances in all four of the jump events (LJ, TJ, HJ, PV) at both the Indoor & Outdoor National Championship meets.
Since becoming a coach, Harris has coached at least one conference champion in each season of competition.
Paige Carswell (Southwestern College) All-American (TJ)- Two-time conference champion (TJ)- Conference champion (LJ)- Outdoor conference and school record holder (TJ)- School record holder indoors and outdoors (LJ)
Alex Hutchins (Southwestern College) School record holder (35lbs. weight throw)
Trevor Noel (Southwestern College) Two-time Conference champion (TJ)
Kelvin Chaplin (Southwestern College) Conference champion (LJ)
Kali Jackson (Johnson County CC) Two-time NJCAA National Champion (TJ)- Four-time All-American- 2008 NJCAA Region VI triple jump champion- Two-time conference champion- School record holder indoor and outdoor (TJ)- School record holder indoor (LJ)
Randal Carter (Johnson County CC) Two-time NJCAA National Champion (HJ)- Two-time conference champion (HJ)- Two-time NJCAA Region VI champion (HJ)- Indoor school record holder (HJ)
Justin Bowen (Johnson County CC) Two-time All-American (PV)
Dustin Turner (Johnson County CC) Two-time All-American (LJ)- Two-time Conference Champion (LJ)
Milton Henry (Johnson County CC) All-American (LJ)
Jason Clark (Johnson County CC) All-American (HJ)
Andy Baron (Johnson County CC) All-American (Pentathlon)- NJCAA Region VI champion (pentathlon)- Conference champion (pentathlon)- Conference record holder (pentathlon)
Willy Cochran (Johnson County CC) All-American (decathlon)- Conference and NJCAA Region VI champion (decathlon)
Brian Fesler (Johnson County CC) All-American (decathlon)
Trevor Cochran (Johnson County CC) All-American (LJ)
Atilvia Spencer (Johnson County CC) Two-time All-American (Long Jump, Triple Jump)- NJCAA Region VI champion (TJ)- Indoor conference champion and conference meet record holder (TJ)
Tiana Davis (Johnson County CC) Two-time All-American (TJ, 60mH)- Conference champion (LJ, TJ, 60mH, 100mH)- Conference meet and school record holder (60mH)
Khara Harmon (Johnson County CC) All-American (TJ)
Kim Lester (Johnson County CC) Conference champion (Pole vault)