Legendary Coach Retires

Posted by Janae Melvin on February 16, 2016 in and, country, cross, field, KCAC, Kirk, NAIA, track, Wren kirk-wren06.jpg

Legendary Ottawa University cross country and track coach Kirk Wren announced his retirement from coaching at the conclusion of the track season. Luckily, Wren is not leaving OU; he has accepted a new opportunity to teach full-time as an associate professor in the School of Education and liberal arts programs.

“It’s been an amazing journey serving as the head cross country and track and field coach here at Ottawa University,” said Wren. “I’m going to miss the interaction with the student athletes. Developing athletes and watching them be successful both on the track and in the classroom rewarding.”

In his 20 years at the helm of the programs, Wren earned nine conference “Coach-of-the-Year” honors; three from men’s cross country (1996, 2001, 2004), five with women’s cross country (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003), and once for women’s track (2000). He led the women’s cross country team to the 2003 KCAC Championship and has coached 11 NAIA All-Americans, 91 conference champions, 101 Daktronic Scholar Athletes, and 29 NAIA Scholar Teams. Wren’s teams have set 39 school records. He will be inducted into the Braves Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.

“We have made some memories; from not having a track facility, to traveling to Canada to national meets, to breaking records, to mowing the cross country course at Pomona Lake,” said Wren. “Turning the program over and leaving it in better shape is what it is all about. I appreciate all of the student athletes who not only ran, jump, and threw, but worked hard academically and athletically to make the University, the program, and myself look good. I’m excited about the future of Ottawa and the new position I have accepted.”

Wren has also excelled in the classroom as an instructor. He earned the OU Class of 1966 Award in 2004 and was named Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2002. Wren was the NAIA National Cross Country Meet Chair – Jury of Appeals Committee from 1999 to 2000 and was on the NAIA National Cross Country Meet Member - Jury of Appeals Committee from 1998 to 1999.

“Coach Wren has built tremendous relationships with our current and past student athletes for 20 years and has done so with the highest level of character and integrity,” said OU Director of Athletics Arabie Conner. “He has been the face of OU Track and Cross Country throughout my time here. Coach Wren’s programs have always been full of high quality young people who have been very involved on our campus, graduated and gone on to do great things in their professional careers. Throughout his coaching career, he’s never wavered on holding his athletes and program to the highest level of accountability, integrity and character. His legacy will be forever embraced and respected by the large number of alumni who have had the opportunity to compete for him. I’m happy to see him excited about this new opportunity and new chapter here at OU.”

Wren will continue to lead the program throughout the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. A national search to find a new head coach is currently underway. The new head coach hire is slated to begin recruiting once hired and take over full reigns of the program at the conclusion of the spring season.