Paul KurtzDirector of Cross Country
Alma Mater: Messiah College - 1990
Office Phone: 863-667-5100
Paul Kurtz was named the head coach for men's and women's cross country in May of 2012, becoming the first coach for both programs in school history.
From 1991-2010, Kurtz served as the head men's cross country and track & field coach for Roberts Wesleyan University, in Rochester, N.Y. In 1998, he was named the women's cross country coach while also assisting the women's track & field program as an assistant coach.
In just his third season with the Raiders, Kurtz led his men’s program to the 1993 NCCAA Championship, while being named the 1993 NCCAA National Coach of the Year.
During his 20 year tenure at Roberts Wesleyan, he coached 18 Individual National Champions, 51 All–Americans, and over 200 Scholar Athletes within the NAIA and NCCAA. Also, nine times he led the Raiders to a Top 5 national finish within the NCCAA National Championships, and seven times his teams placed at NAIA Nationals, including one Top 10 national finish.
“The addition of Paul Kurtz is huge, we feel blessed to welcome another legendary coach into the Southeastern family,” said Aagaard. “Paul’s spiritual depth was evident throughout the interview process, he continually proved himself as a coach who’s going to be a great spiritual leader for our athletes.”
In addition, Kurtz coached future Olympian, Jen Suhr during her freshman year at Roberts Wesleyan College. Suhr would later pick up the pole vault during her senior year at Roberts and is now considered the No. 1 ranked women's pole vaulter in the World as of 2012. Over the past two years, Suhr has jumped the three highest marks in the World, and has been the No. 1 ranked American pole vaulter since 2006.
In 2008, she won a silver medal in the Beijing Olympics, and the Track & Field News named her American Female Athlete of the Year for 2008.
Four of his players have also won the prestigious Wheeler Award, given to one outstanding student athlete in cross country by the NCCAA.
He also served as the American Mideast Conference Cross Country Sports Chair from 2002-2010, and as the NCCAA Sports Chair from 1997-2000.
Kurtz is a graduate of Messiah College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1990. In 1997, he earned a second degree, this time from Roberts Wesleyan in nursing.
“Throughout his career at Roberts Wesleyan he established himself as a coach of excellence; in the classroom he recruited more than 200 Scholar Athletes, while competitively he lead champions, 18 individual National Champions, and one NCCAA National Championship team,” added Aagaard.
He is a registered nurse within New York State, and has been an employee of the University of Rochester Medical Center for the past 15 years, serving the hospital as a staff nurse and a principal trainer.
Kurtz has a USA Track and Field Level I Coaching Certification, and is a member of the USA Track & Field/Cross Country and the NAIA Cross Country and Track & Field Coaches Associations.
He and his wife, Susanne, have four children, and will be relocating to Lakeland over the next month.