Recognized as a developer of champions, on and off the track, Mike Kirkland will begin his 12th year as Head Women's Track and Field Coach and his 24th year of coaching at Southwestern College.
A 1982 graduate of Southwestern College, Kirkland transferred to Southwestern College from Cloud County Community College in 1980.
An NAIA Academic All-American in 1981-1982, Kirkland was a member of the Southwestern College record-setting 440-yard and 4 x 100 meter relay teams, and competed in the National Championships each of his two seasons for SC.
Since taking over the men's and women's sprint & relay program in the fall of 1982, they wasted little time making an immediate impact at the conference and regional level, and have gained national attention with their accomplishments the past two decades. Kirkland has been named KCAC Women's Track Coach of the Year 11 consecutive years, 1995-2005, and has recruited athletes to Southwestern that have been named All-KCAC in 10 seperate sports. During his tenure, the Lady-Builders have amassed a 723-89 record (.890), and have not lost to a conference team since 1992.
Over the past 23 years, Kirkland's athletes have won 158 individual and 62 relay titles in KCAC Championship meets, and have been named All-KCAC a total of 397 times. SC sprinters have raced to 15 individual and 11 relay records in KCAC, NAIA District 10, and NAIA Mid-States Championship meets. His women have swept the 4x100 and 4x400 relay titles at the conference meet, 11 of the past 12 years, and a Lady-Builder has been named the KCAC Most Valuable Athlete each of the past 11 seasons.
Individually, 49 athletes that he has recruited or coached have earned NAIA All-American honors a total of 90 times, including NAIA National Champion Carrie Plumley in the 55 meter hurdles, 2-time All-American sprinter Nicole Ledbetter, two National runner-up finishes by Anthony Jennings, and relay teams that have been National Finalists 15 times. In 1991, the men's 4 x 400 relay team earned All-America status with a 6th place finish in 3:10.25, anchored by Jenning's 45.4 split. This remains the fastest final ever run in the 4 x 400 relay at the NAIA Championships. In 2002, Amy King earned two Indoor All-American honors in the 55 meter dash, and triple jump. In 2004, three-time All-American Andrea Mohr raced to a NAIA National Championship in the 3,000 meter steeplechase and set a new national meet record by 24 seconds. In doing so, Andrea is currenty ranked in the Top-100 "All-Time USA List" for the women's steeplechase. In addition, Amy Tiger finished 5th in the marathon and Stasha McClure tied for 3rd in the high jump. In 2005 Stephanie Swanson earned All-American honors in the 20lb Weight Throw with a school record toss of 54' 111/4".
A native of Marysville, KS, Kirkland heads the sprint, hurdle, and relay program for the men's and women's teams and served as Southwestern's Director of Athletics from 2003-2009. His most recent honor came with his induction into the Southwestern College Athletics Hall of Fame in November 2010.