Jeff Raymond returns to Grace College for his ninth year at the helm of the men's and women's cross country and track and field programs.
In his first eight seasons, Raymond has experienced tremendous individual and team success. He has sent numerous participants to the NAIA championships in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.
Raymond's teams have set 97 school records in track and field over the past eight years. His cross country and track/field student-athletes have been equally stellar in the classroom with 63 NAIA Scholar-Athletes in the past eight years.
Raymond’s track and field teams have made major revisions to Grace’s record books. During the 2014 track season, Raymond's team set 13 new school records during the indoor and outdoor season and tied a 14th record as well. Raymond has also had 21 events qualify for the NAIA National Championships since 2011.
In 2013 the Lancers' 4x800 relay team qualifed for indoor and outdoor NAIA Nationals. The foursome finished ninth in the indoor meet and 12th in the outdoor meet, representing Grace's best finishes at NAIA Nationals in over a decade.
During the 2012 season, Raymond’s outdoor track team had six runners compete at the NAIA Nationals – their largest representation in a decade.
In the 2016 NCCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Grace’s men’s and women's track team earned five All-American awards. Grace upped that mark in 2017, earning eight NCCAA All-American nods at the outdoor championships.
In 2011 Raymond coached a national champion when MariJean Wegert took home the NCCAA National Indoor Championship in the 800 meters. He repeated the feat when Nathan Brown won the NCCAA's heptathlon championship in 2015.
In 2017, Grace's men's team experienced its best NCCAA Outdoor Championships ever. The men's team placed fifth out of 24 teams, setting a program record for highest finish and most team points (59).
In 2018, Grace had one NCCAA national champion (Thomas Hickerson, javelin) and sent six athletes to NAIA Outdoor Nationals, including a fourth-place showing from All-American Isaac Stuckey.
His teams at Grace have been equally successful in the classroom. He coached nine NAIA All-American Scholar-Athletes in his first two cross country seasons and 11 in track and field. Additionally, he has coached and recruited three NCCAA Wheeler Award winners (Jonathan Rex, 2014; Donovan Graham, 2015; Macallister Seitz, 2017) -- the highest individual award the NCCAA gives out for athletic and personal achievements.
Prior to Grace, Raymond served at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., where he was the institution’s athletic director and head track and field coach for six years.
At Trinity, Raymond led the track and field program to its best seasons in school history, including new school records in virtually every event. During his time there, Trinity produced numerous NCCAA All-Americans, a pair of NCCAA national champions, and the winner of the prestigious NCCAA Wheeler Award. Raymond was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Track Coach of the Year in 2009.
Before he arrived in Palos Heights, he was an assistant coach in the track and field programs at the University of Georgia, Taylor University and Westmont College (Calif.).
As an athlete, Raymond ran track at Taylor University for four years and broke three school records. He is a four-time NCCAA All-American, and he won NCCAA national titles in the 400 meters, 400 meter hurdles and 4x400 meter relay in 1986. He still sits in Taylor’s top 10 in the triple jump and 400 meter hurdles.
Raymond graduated from Taylor University with a degree in physical education and health. He went on to earn his master’s degree in sports management at the University of Georgia.
Raymond and his wife, Deborah, have one son, Elijah.
Grace’s track and field program is pleased to announce its first full-time assistant coach in Max Kittle for the 2017-18 season.
Kittle is an All-American athlete from Anderson University. He recently complete a stint as a graduate assistant coach at Olivet Nazarene University from 2015-17, assisting with recruiting and coaching the hurdles and sprints.
At Grace, Kittle is responsible for enhancing the program’s recruiting efforts, organizing fall track workouts and specialized coaching in the areas of sprints and hurdles. The Lancers enjoyed a boom in recruiting efforts during Kittle's first year, highlighted by 26 new student-athletes and nine All-State honorees.
“I'm excited to be working for a growing program that has made great strides to compete at the conference and national levels,” Kittle said. “I feel that Grace is a place where student-athletes can come and be successful in their spiritual, academic and athletic lives.”
Kittle was a five-time NCAA Division III All-American at Anderson, excelling in hurdles. As a senior, he was named the Heartland Conference Male Athlete of the Year and the Anderson Senior Athlete of the Year.
He was named the conference Track Athlete of the Year four times in his career and won 17 conference titles.
“We are excited to have Max join our coaching staff. He brings a great passion for the sport of track and field,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “His background includes both competing at a high level and coaching others to compete at that level, so we are looking forward to the impact he can have on our program.”
Kittle, who lives in Algonquin, Ill., plans to finish his master’s degree this summer in business administration. His undergrad studies at Anderson finished in 2015 while he majored in exercise science with a minor in coaching.
Michael McDowell, head track coach at Olivet Nazarene added: “Max is the best GA that our program has had. He has a heart for coaching and makes exceptional relationships with the student-athletes. He will make a great addition to any staff that he joins.”
Bio. Coming Soon!
Bio. Coming Soon!