Zach Kindler served as the Wildcat's head men's and women's cross country and track and field coach since 2007. And passed away on Monday, Aug. 4 2014 after a sudden medical emergency. He was a beloved coach, father, husband and friend of the University and will go down as one of the most successful coaches in the history of Baker Athletics.
Kindler's program reached unprecedented heights in 2012-13 with a HAAC championship in men's cross country, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field and women's outdoor track and field.
His men's cross country squad took 10th in the NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championship meet in Vancouver, Wash., and his women's team took three runners to compete in the national meet.
During the Indoor season, Baker posted five NAIA All-Americans at the National Championship meet in Geneva, Ohio.
In the Spring, Baker finished sixth at the NAIA Women's Outdoor Track and Field meet and the men's squad took 11th nationally at the meet. Baker posted 13 NAIA All-Americans at the NAIA Outdoor National championship meet in Marian, Ind.
Under Kindler's leadership, Jeremy Gathright won the men's 400 national championship in a time of 46.62, marking the second national champion in Kindler's time as head coach at Baker. The other national champion came in 2012, when Stephanie Nelson won the women's Javelin.
During his time at Baker, coach Kindler was named Heart of America Athletic Conference Coach of the Year 15 times and won four cross country conference championships and nine track and field conference championships.
The Esbon, Kan., native came to Baldwin City after serving three years (2004-2007) at Kansas Wesleyan University in the same position. Previous to Kansas Wesleyan, Kindler served as an assistant coach at Fort Hays State University (NCAA Division II). As a student-athlete he achieved All-American status four times and Academic All-American status twice while bringing home a national title in the javelin for the Tigers. Kindler graduated with an undergraduate degree in sports management in 2001 and a master's degree in sports administration in 2003.
A website has also been created to help raise funds for Zach's wife Sara and his three children. To donate, please click here.
T-Shirts have also been created by the Baker University athletic department and are also for sale. All proceeds will go towards a Baker University student-athlete scholarship in Coach Kindler's honor. To purchase a shirt, please click here.
The Baker Athletics department is also planning to honor Coach Kindler with events on the Baldwin City campus in the future. Those will be found on the www.bakerwildcats.com as they become available.