"We are very pleased to have coach Jeff Kent join our staff as assistant cross country and track and field coach. He comes from a very strong pedigree and he has an understanding of what it takes to get our cross country and distance programs going. I feel he is a great fit to our staff's dynamic and I am excited to get him on board and going with the Boilermakers." - Head coach Lonnie Greene
Jeff Kent began as the assistant cross country and track and field coach on Aug. 14, 2014. He joined the Purdue staff after spending five years at the University of Arkansas as director of operations for the women's track and field program.
In his first year with the Boilermaker track and field program, Kent's distance group broke several school records. Athletes in his group broke records in the women's distance medley relay, indoors and out, the men's indoor 5k, men's outdoor 5k and men's outdoor 10k. Kent coached junior Matthew McClintock to First Team All-American honors, as he finished seventh in the 10k at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. McClintock also won the 10k at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, and was runner-up in the event at the Big Ten Championships.
Under Kent's direction, McClintock was the Big Ten champion in the outdoor 5k, Purdue's first ever in the event and first of a similar distance since 1961. McClintock's 5k Big Ten championship was Purdue's first in a distance event since 2001. McClintock was named the Great Lakes Regional Track Athlete of the Year and was First Team All-Big Ten.
The Purdue women finished third at the 2015 Big Ten Indoor Championships with huge contributions from Kent's distance group. The women's DMR earned the bronze medal for six points. The women also had three scorers in the mile, with Katie Hoevet taking third, Kiara McIntosh finishing sixth and Hope Schmelzle crossing the line seventh. Those finishes earned 17 points for the women's squad.
The men's Big Ten Indoor Championship group also scored in multiple events. McClintock earned the bronze medal in the 5k, while Jake Waterman was seventh in the 3k and 5k.
In his first year with the Boilermakers, Kent's distance group added three indoor top 10 times in program history on the men's side and four on the women's side. During the outdoor season, his group put three names in the top 10s on the men's side, and two on the women's. Four of his distance runners qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds.
In Kent's first year as the assistant coach of the Boilermakers, the women finished eighth at Big Tens and ninth on the men's side in cross country. Kent coached Matthew McClintock to his second consecutive All-America honor and a 19th-place finish at the NCAA Championships in cross country. Under Greene and Kent's direction, McClintock finished third at the Big Ten Championships, as well as at the Great Lakes Regional. McClintock became Purdue's first two-time All-American since 1949-50, and just the third in program history.
Prior to Purdue, Kent and Purdue head coach Lonnie Greene had worked together in the past, as Greene was an assistant coach for the Arkansas women's program until 2012 when he was hired as Purdue's head coach. Kent also is familiar with the Big Ten Conference, as he graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in heath and sports studies.
During Kent's time at Arkansas, the Razorbacks were one of the top track & field and cross country programs in the country. The women's team had six top-10 finishes at NCAA Track and Field Championship meets. The Razorback harriers advanced individuals to the NCAA Cross Country Championships each year he was there, including qualifying the team each of the last three years after winning regional championships. Arkansas finished in the top 20 all three of those years.
A native of Valparaiso, Indiana, Kent ran collegiately at Ball State and Iowa on the cross country and track teams. The new Purdue distance coach specialized in the 3,000-meter run and 5,000-meter run, and finished 10th in the 5k at the Big Ten Indoor Championships during his senior year.
After earning his undergraduate degree from Iowa, Kent attended Delta State University (Cleveland, Mississippi), where he earned a master's degree in health, physical education and recreation.