Jon Tipton, a graduate of Sam Houston State University, is beginning his sixth season in charge of the Bearkat throws group.
Since Coach Tipton’s return to Huntsville for the 2014 season, the throwers have received seven USTFCCCA Academic All-American honors, four All-American performances, six NCAA Championships qualifiers, 24 NCAA Preliminary Championships qualifiers, 16 Southland Conference champions, 34 All-Conference performers, and five current SHSU School Records. Tipton’s athletes have helped contribute to 12 Southland Conference Team Championships since his return to the program.
Continuing their dominance, Tipton’s crew of throwers contributed nine Southland Conference All-Conference performances and 107 points at Southland Conference Championship meets in 2018. Led by Kristine Hanks, Yarixza Rivera, and Josh Hernandez, the throwers saw five individual evet champions en-route to completing the programs first ever sweep of Southland Conference Team Championships. Their season eventually wrapped up in Eugene, Oregon where Sophomore Josh Hernandez finished 19th in the hammer throw at the NCAA National Championships. In addition, the throwers added two more USTFCCCA Academic All-Americans and had five NCAA Preliminary Championships qualifiers.
In 2017, the throwers added to their tradition of excellence tallying another All-American performance, with Freshman Josh Hernandez finishing 13th in Eugene, Oregon in the hammer throw. Under Tipton’s tutelage, Hernandez had a stellar rookie campaign that concluded with wins at the USATF National Junior Championships in Sacramento, California and at the IAAF U-20 Pan-American Championships in Trujillo, Peru. Hernandez ranks as the third best American ever after his 249’ performance at the USATF National Junior Championships.
In total, the throwers 2017 campaign saw; two USTFCCCA Academic All-American honors, one All-American performance, four NCAA Preliminary Championships qualifiers, three Southland Conference champions, eight All-Conference performances, and two SHSU school records.
In 2016, Tipton’s throwers had a monumental breakthrough led by hammer/weight thrower Ashley Jenkins. In her historic senior year, Jenkins threw herself into the history books with a 4th place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. During the outdoor season, Jenkins earned another All-American certificate in Eugene as well as an appearance at the 2016 USATF Olympic Team Trials. Ashley Jenkins is the most decorated thrower in SHSU history earning three All-American certificates, five Southland Conference gold medals and still maintains two school records.
Prior to SHSU, Tipton was an assistant coach for the UC Davis Aggies for the 2012-2013 seasons. During his time at the University of California, Davis, Tipton worked with several NCAA Preliminary Championships qualifiers, including Ashley Hearn, the 2012 Big West Discus Champion and bronze medalist at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Under Tipton’s guidance, Ashley Hearn became the first woman in track and field history at UC Davis to earn a NCAA First Team All-American certificate. Hearn who is also the current school record holder in the discus, with a toss of 190’1, competed alongside Tipton at the USATF Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon in 2012.
Tipton’s first coaching experience was as the graduate assistant for SHSU Track & Field from the Fall of 2009 through the Spring of 2011, while completing his masters in Kinesiology. During his stint as graduate assistant, in which he provided direct oversight for the throwers, Tipton worked with SHSU school record holder Chris Cralle (2012 Olympic Trials Silver Medalist) who earned All-American honors in 2011 and won the NACAC U-23 Championships in 2010 in the hammer throw.
Not only has Tipton shown promise as one of the best up-and-coming- coaches in the country, but he was also a stellar athlete for the Bearkats. His discus throw of 196’6” in 2009 still stands as the school record.