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Nathan Fanger  |  Associate Head Coach / Throws

One of the longest-tenured track and field coaches in the Mid-American Conference, Kent State graduate Nathan Fanger ‘00 is in his 13th season as a member of the coaching staff and is in charge of the throwers.

"Coach Fanger has coached the most champions and is respected nationwide as one of the top throwing coaches in the country," said Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Bill Lawson. "He is the backbone of our program and we are very fortunate and have Nathan Fanger here at Kent State."

With the Kent State program already widely regarded for success in those events, Fanger has taken the team to new heights during his tenure on the coaching staff. Under his guidance, 50 throwers have won MAC championships, 54 have qualified for NCAA Regional meets, 33 have qualified for the NCAA Championships and 14 have earned All-America status.

The list of successful student-athletes to compete for Kent State under Fanger’s guidance continues to grow.

Success hasn’t been limited to the field of competition for Fanger’s performers. He also has one Academic All-American to his credit.

Following the 2014 indoor season, Coach Fanger was named the Great Lakes Regional Women’s Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year by the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Under the direction of coach Fanger in the 2013-14 season, the Golden Flashes’ throwers had six school records broke, four indoor and outdoor National Qualifiers with a NCAA Runner-Up in women’s discus and a NCAA National Champion in the men’s hammer throw.

Fanger directed Matthias Tayala to a National title in the men’s hammer throw at the NCAA Division I Outdoor National Championships in May, where he reset his own hammer throw school record to 241’ 4”. Fanger guided Danniel Thomas to a second place in the women’s discus at the outdoor championships in Eugene, Ore.

In Fanger’s time here at Kent State as a coach, since 2001, he has directed 40 females to the Kent State Top-10 All-Time Top Performers List including the school records in four-of-six events while he has coached 28 males to the Kent State Top-10 All-Time Top Performers List including school records in four-of-six events. Fanger still holds the school record in the men’s outdoor discus with a mark set in 2000 at 194’ 3”.

In 2010-11, for the sixth time in his coaching career, Fanger guided both a men’s and women’s student-athlete to the NCAA Championships. The result was an All-American honoree in the women’s hammer throw, the sixth of Fanger’s coaching career.

The 2009 season was one for the history books for Fanger, as five athletes captured conference titles with his assistance. That year, Fanger coached five athletes to conference championships, including former softball standout Kim Hamilton in the javelin. Hamilton had only nine months of training under her belt when she finished fifth in the javelin to earn All-American accolades at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Since his arrival on the Kent State campus, Fanger has aided the Golden Flashes in capturing 11 MAC team championships, including the 2000 men’s outdoor title as a student-athlete.

Fanger, a 2000 graduate of Kent State, was a standout athlete for the Golden Flashes in his own right. He is the only four-time discus champion in MAC history and is one of three Kent State athletes to have won an individual event at the MAC championships in each of their four years. Twice he qualified for the NCAA championships in the discus and he holds the Kent State school record in the event with a throw of 194'-3."

A native of Kalispell, Mont., Fanger graduated from Kent State with a degree in education and resides in Brimfield with his wife, Lori, his sons Jonathan and Adam, and his daughter Savannah.

Phil Rickaby  |  Assistant Coach / Horizontal Jumps, Women's Short Sprints

Kent State University track and field standout Phil Rickaby is in his seventh season as a member of the Golden Flashes' coaching staff. Rickaby works with the horizontal jumpers and short sprints performers.

"As a graduate of Kent State, Phil brings inside knowledge about the programs," said Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Bill Lawson. "He has been a tremendous assistant to me, especially in the combined events and the jumps. He is also a diligent recruiter for our program."

As a coach, Rickaby is responsible for 32 total All-Time Top Performers in Kent State History. Twenty-five of Rickaby’s 32 All-Time Top Performers come form the women’s side. For the indoor seasons, he coached the athletes who hold the top-4 marks in the long jump, five in the top-10 for triple jump, two in the top-10 for the 60m dash and three in the 200m dash. For the outdoor seasons, he coached athletes who hold two of the top-5 in the triple jump, three of the top-10 in the long jump and one in both the 100m and the 200m dashes. The other four under Rickaby’s direction that sit in the All-Time Top Performers list come from three men’s indoor top-10 marks in the triple jump and one in the outdoor triple jump.

Rickaby continued his success in the long jump and triple jump in the 2013-14 season as the women's team swept the podium for the second straight season at the indoor Mid-American Conference Championships for the long jump. With following suit from the 2012-13 season, Rickaby led the girls to first (Roseanne Erickson), second (Ann Marie Duffus) and third (Dior Delophont) places, while in the triple jump Delophont took second and Erickson came away with third. Erickson has continued to dominate the long jump winning the titles at the indoor and outdoor championships since arriving at Kent State and backed her title in 2014 at the outdoor championships. Delophont took third in the long jump this past season as she backed up her MAC Champion title from the previous season.

Rickaby led the men's side to a second and third place finish at the indoor championships in 2013-14, as Donovan Tolbert took second and Jailyn Twitty took third in the triple jump. Twitty followed his indoor season up with an outdoor third place finish.

Under Rickaby's direction in 2012-13, the women's team swept the titles in the long jump and triple jump both indoors and outdoor. At the 2013 indoor MAC Championships, Dior Delophont took home first in both the outdoor titles in the triple jump and long jump. In the long jump behind Delophont, Roseanne Erickson and Keri Dantley finished out the top-3 (second and third, respectively). Continuing their run from the indoor season, Rickaby led the jumpers to the podium again to sweep first, second and third place in the long jump (Erickson - First, Ann Marie Duffus - Second, Delophont - Third), while for the triple jump they came away with first, second and fourth (Delophont - First, Dantley - Second, Erickson - Fourth).

Rickaby closed out the 2012-13 season with being reconginized by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as being named the Great Lakes Region Indoor Women's Assistant Coach of the Year.

In 2011-12, Rickaby mentored two-time NCAA Championship participant Penina Acayo in the triple jump. In just one season at Kent State, Acayo was a two-time MAC champion under Rickaby's guidance.

During the 2012 season, Rickaby led the women's triple jump crew to a first and third place finish at the indoor MAC Championships as well as a first and second in the outdoor championships (Penina Acayo and Keri Dantley, respectively). Roseanne Erickson claimed the long jump title as a freshman at the outdoor championships. Additionally to the women's success in the 2012 season, on the men's side, Rickaby led three guys to second, third and fourth place at the outdoor championships in the triple jump (Rob Falchi, Justin Bailey, Andrew Linebarger).

Rickaby’s success as a coach comes from not only a vast background in competition in a wide array of events as a former collegian, but his passion for excellence.

From 2006 to 2008, Rickaby served as a graduate assistant at Kent State. He has also served as a term instructor for the Physical Education Department in the School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport. In addition, he served as a volunteer assistant coach in 2007 and was named Kent State's track and field assistant meet manager in 2006.

During Rickaby's tenure at Kent State, he proved to be a top competitor making his way onto the all-time record lists of the track and field program.  He is currently ranked in the 60m (ninth), indoor and outdoor long jump (fourth and second), the javelin (eighth) and indoor and outdoor triple jump (sixth and eighth), respectively.

In his final season of competition, Rickaby was named to the 2007 ESPN the Magazine and CoSIDA Academic All-American Second Team for his efforts.

As a freshman, Rickaby claimed the Mid-American Conference title in the triple jump, which paved the way to an All-MAC first team selection in 2004; his efforts helped the Kent State men capture the 2004 team title at the MAC Outdoor Championships. In the three succeeding years, Rickaby again earned First Team All-MAC honors while capturing three MAC Champion tiles in the javelin. He qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships in 2006 in the long jump.

A native of Winmalee, Australia, Rickaby came to the United States and Kent State in 2004.  Prior to his arrival in the U.S., Rickaby was a three-time Australian Junior Triple Jump Champion from 2000-02.  During his collegiate career, Rickaby continued to add to his collection of athletic accolades in various events.  Known for his triple jumping and long jumping abilities, Rickaby also proved to be a top contender in the javelin.

Rickaby earned his Bachelor of Science degree in human movement studies in 2006 from Kent State University. In May of 2008, he graduated with a Masters of Arts in sports management from Kent State. He also earned his Level 2 United States of America Track and Field Coaching Certification in 2011.

Michael Schober  |  Short Sprints, Long Sprints, Hurdles, High Jump & Combined Events

Director of Track & Field / Cross Country Bill Lawson recently announced that former Kent State student-athlete, Michael Schober, has been named an assistant track & field coach on his staff.

Schober, who will oversee men’s/women’s high jump, women’s combined event, men’s/women’s hurdles and serve as the assistant in the men’s decathlon for the Golden Flashes, comes back to Kent State after spending a year with the track and field and cross country programs at Mount Union.  

As an assistant coach with the Purple Raiders during the 2012-13 season, Schober worked primarily with the jumps, hurdles and combined events and also assisted the head coach in the development of student-athletes and recruiting.  He helped the men’s outdoor track & field squad capture their third-straight Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) men’s track & field title, and the women to their fourth straight OAC Championship title.  Schober was named the Men’s Great Lakes Division III Assistant Coach of the Year after coaching 12 national qualifiers, four All-Americans and had eight athletes set school record.

“I am extremely pleased to have Michael (Schober) back in the program,” said Lawson.  “He was an outstanding track & field athlete for us and was a great team leader.  Michael helped lead a very successful program at Mount Union, and I feel that he will bring that same winning attitude to Kent State as a coach. He is the final piece of the puzzle on my staff as we move forward into another exciting year.”

Prior to Mount Union, the Penfield, N.Y. native also spent some time at Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, where he was the track & field coach at the Michael Johnson Performance Training Center.   Schober taught skills, evaluated and trained athletes, as well as produced strength & conditioning programs, power programs and performed the Functional Movement Screen on athletes.

A graduate of Kent State University where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in physical education-human movement studies in 2012, Schober earned All-MAC honors five times.  A team captain during his senior year, Schober’s score of 5,358 in the heptathlon ranks third all-time in the Kent State record books.  He also spent the 2011-12 season as a volunteer assistant on Lawson’s track & field staff where he worked closely with the high jump and combined events.

Schober also spent three summers as a coach at the Matt Buffum Summer Track Camp in Rochester, N.Y.  He coached two athletes who won state titles in New York and five athletes who received Division I scholarships during his time working at the camp.

Olimpia Nowak  |  Assistant Coach / Combined Events & Women's High Jump

Olimpia Nowak joined the Kent State Track and Field coaching staff in August of 2015.

"We are very excited to have Olimpia be a part of the Kent State Track and Field program," Head Coach Bill Lawson stated. "She (Olimpia) will add expertise in the combined events, hurdles and high jump."

Nowak, a native of Rawicz, Poland, was a collegiate athlete at the University of Northern Iowa from 2008-2012. She was a five-time All-American for the Panthers and was crowned the 2010 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Pentathlon Champion (3,920 pts).

As a Panther, she set the school record in the heptathlon (5,686 pts | 2012), the indoor 60m hurdles (8.35 | 2012) and the pentathlon (4,067 pts | 2012), while she sits in the top-5 in a number of categories.

Lawson added "Olimpia was an outstanding athlete who I had the privilege to see compete on several occasions. Her knowledge and technical experience will become a valuable asset to our program."

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in May of 2012 from UNI and went on to receive her Masters of Science in Kinesiology and Health Science in May of 2014 from Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Ga.

Nowak comes to the Golden Flashes Track and Field program from the NorthCrest Specialty Care in Waterloo, Iowa as a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Group Fitness Instructor and Body Pump Instructor at the YMCA and Key West Fitness Gym in Waterloo, Iowa.