SHREVEPORT, LA – Centenary College Director of Athletics and Wellness Ronda Seagraves named Kyle Joplin as women’s triathlon’s first head coach on Thursday, July 16. Women’s triathlon, which is currently a club sport at Centenary, will become a varsity sport in 2016-17.
“I am pleased that Centenary College has identified and hired a strong, full-time triathlon coach in Kyle Joplin for our latest addition to our varsity sport offerings,” said Seagraves. “His knowledge and technical training in the sport will definitely prepare and propel our athletes in competition. Centenary is on the forefront of a new intercollegiate sport and we are extremely pleased that we have been able to hire a coach who will lead our student-athletes through the recruitment, preparation, and competition process.”
Currently in his second season as the head cross country coach and assistant swimming coach, Joplin will recruit immediately for triathlon.
For choosing to add the sport of women’s triathlon, Centenary has been awarded $70,000 in grant funds from the USA Triathlon (USAT) Foundation to purchase training and safety equipment and create recruiting materials to raise awareness for the new program
“I am very excited that Centenary has chosen to elevate women’s triathlon to varsity status,” said Joplin. “I think it is a great opportunity for us and I thank USA Triathlon for choosing us as a grant recipient. This should be a great way for colleges and the USAT to promote an Olympic pipeline.”
Joplin has previous triathlon experience. After graduating from Auburn in 2008 and spending two years working for Fleet Feet, he spent time as the swim and triathlon coach for the Atlantic Coast Athletic Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Also during his tenure in Virginia, he also spent time as the assistant director of competitive swimming at the Waynesboro YMCA.
Prior to coming to Shreveport, Joplin served as the owner of Runner’s High in his hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He oversaw the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of the store and also coached the men’s and women’s racing teams, which included developing training plans and coaching group workouts. During his time with Runner’s High, he also served as head coach for YMCA Hub Fins Masters Swim Team.
In his coaching career, Joplin has mentored a top 25 finisher at the USA Track and Field Cross Country National Championships, a USA Swimming Silver Medal Club in the Shenandoah Marlins Aquatics Club, a world record holder in masters swimming, and numerous top ten national swimmers.
Women’s triathlon was approved as an Emerging Sport at the NCAA convention in January 2014. NCAA Emerging Sports have a ten year window to establish 40 programs across the association’s three divisions. Currently over 200 universities, including Centenary, sponsor triathlon as a club sport, and 40% of collegiate triathlon participants are women.
Swimming news courtesy of Centenary Athletics.