DENVER – Johnson & Wales University is thrilled to announce the hiring of Cole Davis as its head coach for cross country and track & field.
Davis joins JWU Denver after eight seasons at Friends University – an NAIA school in Wichita, Kansas – where he helped develop the Falcons into perennial conference champions in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field.
The Falcons won 23 team conference championships and 176 individual titles under Davis' leadership, leading to 11 conference coach of the year awards for the Kansas native. A five-time USTFCCAA South Central Region Head Coach of the Year, Davis mentored and developed 95 All-Americans, including eight national champions at Friends.
"I am incredibly excited to join the athletic department at JWU Denver. I have a passion for coaching this sport and I am excited for the opportunity to take control of this program and help it grow into a conference contender in the SCAC," Davis said. "We will focus on building a tradition of excellence in the classroom, in the community, and on the track/course. I want to send a special thank you to Michael Smoose, Scott Lyons, and the entire JWU athletic department for the hospitality during this transition. I am excited to get to work."
Interim track and field/cross country coach Josh Stewart, who led the men's cross country team to a fourth place finish and a pair of all-conference performances at this year's SCAC Championships, will return to his previous role as assistant coach.
"We're thrilled to welcome Cole to the JWU Denver family," said Interim Athletic Director of Athletics Dr. Scott Lyons. "Coach Davis has proven himself to be a great leader with the ability to recruit and develop young men and women into terrific, well-rounded student-athletes. We anticipate continued growth in our cross country and track & field programs under the leadership of Coach Davis and Coach Stewart. I'd also like to thank Coach Stewart for stepping up and doing a wonderful job as the head cross country coach this fall, and I'm beyond excited that he's decided to stay on staff and continue working closely with our student-athletes."
Hired as the head women's and assistant men's track & field coach at Friends in January 2012, Davis was promoted to the head men's and women's cross country and track & field coach in August 2016. Under his leadership, those programs reached new heights as the Falcons broke school records in 65 different events the past seven years.
Davis guided the Falcon women's team to a fourth-place team finish at the 2018 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships, the first national trophy for any sport in the history of Friends University Athletics. That same indoor season saw both the men's and women's programs earn their highest national rankings in team history when the women were No. 2 and men No. 6.
Davis has excelled as a recruiter, increasing program participation from 38 total athletes when he took over in 2012 to more than 100 in 2019. The Falcons were also successful in the classroom during Davis' tenure with the women's team holding a GPA of 3.40 or better from 2012-2019 and the men a 3.00 or higher.
Prior to his time at Friends, Davis served as the Recreation Director, Assistant Track and Field Coach and Assistant Director of Residence Life from 2010-2011 at Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas, where he helped seven student-athletes qualify for the NJCAA Outdoor National Meet.
Davis competed collegiately as a multi-event athlete at Pratt CC and then as a decathlete at Emporia State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation and a Master of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation with an emphasis in Coaching.