FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas Razorback men’s track and field head coach Chris Bucknam has announced the hiring of Travis Geopfert as the Razorbacks’ jumps, throws and multi-events assistant coach.
"I am pleased to announce Travis Geopfert is our new field events coach," Bucknam said. "As we progressed through a national search for the position, it only re-affirmed my assessment that Travis is one of collegiate track and field’s most successful young and talented coaches. He has a tremendous ability to relate to student-athletes. They gravitate to him. Also, his extensive knowledge of all the field events is crucial to the position he is taking on. As an assistant and head coach, he has seen success in every event he has coached. His success and versatility are exactly what I was looking for during this process."
Geopfert comes to the University of Arkansas after a six-year stint at the University of Northern Iowa where he served in various coaching positions. He was named the Panthers’ head track and field and cross country coach on July 3, 2008 after serving as an assistant coach for four seasons and associate head coach for one season. Geopfert replaced Bucknam as head coach when he accepted his current position at the University of Arkansas.
"I am thrilled to be joining the University of Arkansas men’s track and field staff," Geopfert said. "I’m excited to contribute to this coaching staff and this program and to continue the tradition and success the University of Arkansas is so well-known for. The University of Arkansas is the best place in the country to coach collegiate track and field. I’m going to do everything I can to help carry on the tradition of Razorback track and field."
"My wife, Nicole, and I love the city of Fayetteville and we are looking forward to joining the community. I have a lot of family in Arkansas and my father lived in Northwest Arkansas as a child so this move is really exciting for us. I’m looking forward to absorbing the tradition of the Razorbacks and to make the Arkansas alumni and fans proud of what we are accomplishing."
As UNI’s head coach in 2008-09, Geopfert led the Panthers to the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor and Outdoor team titles and was named the 2009 MVC Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Year. During his time as head coach, Geopfert’s student-athletes earned four All-America honors and captured 18 MVC event titles. In 2009, Geopfert coached eight NCAA and 15 regional qualifiers in addition to five student-athletes who competed at the 2009 USA Championships.
"It speaks volumes for our program that our two assistant coaches also have successful experience as Division I head coaches," Bucknam said. "Travis had a great year as UNI’s head coach in 2009. I can relate to his first year and the process of replacing someone who was long term. I replaced John McDonnell after 36 years and Travis was my replacement after 25 years.
"In six short years, Travis has elevated from an assistant coach to a head coach and has done so with great success. He is definitely a young couch on the rise and the tremendous amount of success he has had is definitely notable."
In total, Geopfert has coached 23 All-Americans, three Academic All-Americans, 52 MVC event champions, 85 all-conference performers, 36 NCAA qualifiers, 42 regional qualifiers, and 15 USA Championships qualifiers.
The UNI men’s team swept the 2009 MVC Outdoor Awards with Geopfert winning Coach of the Year, Cory Goos winning Track Athlete of the Year, Mat Clark earning Field Event Athlete of the Year and Terrance Reid named the High Point Scorer. In 2008, Geopfert was named the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Midwest Region men’s assistant coach of the year.
He was selected as the decathlon coach for the 2009 USA vs. Germany Thorpe Cup by USA Track and Field. Geopfert will be instructing three-time Olympian Tom Pappas and 2004 Olympian Paul Terek.
He coached five-time All-American Raven Cepeda to the No. 7 all-time NCAA heptathlon score. Cepeda was ranked 12th in the world in 2008. He currently holds the MVC and school records in both the heptathlon and decathlon. He was named the MVC Athlete of the Year four times during his career. Cepeda was also a two-time NCAA Midwest Region Field Event Athlete of the Year.
Under Geopfert’s guidance, Cepeda became the first MVC student-athlete to win four indoor heptathlon titles. Additionally, Cepeda won three-straight MVC outdoor decathlon titles.
Geopfert also coached five-time All-American long jumper, UNI record holder, 2005 MVC Outdoor Field Event Athlete of the Year and 2006 USA Championships seventh-place finisher Cody Eichmeier.
At the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships, UNI was the only school to qualify two athletes for each of the multi-event competitions. Cepeda and Mat Clark each earned All-America honors in the men’s heptathlon, while Dani Stipe and Olimpia Nowak both competed in the women’s pentathlon. Additionally, UNI also boasted two competitors in the men’s high jump competition with Ehi Oamen finishing third.
At the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Geopfert coached three individuals to All-America honors. Cepeda and Clark each tallied All-America efforts in the decathlon, while Ehi Oamen notched All-America status in the high jump.
Additionally, Geopfert coached three of the 19 decathletes at the 2008 USA Olympic Trials in Cepeda, Mat Clark and Joe Detmer.
Prior to his return to UNI, Geopfert served as assistant track and field coach at Central Missouri. During the 2003 indoor season, Geopfert’s athletes scored 25 points at the NCAA national meet, including national titles in the high jump and triple jump.
During his time as a student-athlete at UNI, Geopfert was an All-American (2000 Indoor Distance Medley relay), a three-time MVC Champion.
During his post-collegiate career as a decathlete, he was a two-time Drake Relays decathlon champion, a three-time member of the U.S. vs. Germany decathlon duel team and a six-time USA Championships qualifier.
Originally from Panora, Iowa, Geopfert earned his bachelor’s degree from UNI in 2002. He is married to the former Nicole Johnson.