PITTSBURGH – Point Park Director of Athletics John Ashaolu is pleased to announce the hiring of Jim Spisak as the Pioneers’ head coach for men’s and women’s cross country and track and field. Spisak had been serving as the interim coach of the programs since February.
Spisak, a Bishop McCort Catholic graduate, came to Point Park in August of 2018 as an assistant coach for the programs. He is a former professional distance runner and three-time U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier after his successful college career at Duquesne.
“Jim’s tenure as our interim head coach showed that his dedication to student-athlete success goes well beyond competition,” said Ashaolu. “He is the right person to lead this program because he’s able to relate to his student-athletes. His ability to communicate to and motivate his student-athletes are a credit to his success as a world-class runner. I believe he is ready for the challenge of ushering both our men’s and women’s cross country and track & field programs to the next level as we continue to build on our recent accomplishments.”
"I greatly appreciate Director of Athletics John Ashaolu and Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Keith Paylo for giving me the opportunity to continue working with the track and field and cross country teams on a full-time basis," said Spisak. "I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the student-athletes and coaching staff last year and hope that we can continue to build on the success that our programs have enjoyed over the last several seasons. We plan to create a culture of hard work and positivity in which our student-athletes can grow academically, athletically, socially and emotionally."
Spisak brings a strong resume within the sports of cross country and track and field. After graduating from Duquesne in 2014, he went on to run professionally for NE Distance from 2015-17. A highlight was qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials for the 10,000 meters in 2016.
At Duquesne, he was a three-time NCAA national qualifier capping off his career with an NCAA finals appearance in the 10,000m in 2014.
He was an NCAA Regional runner-up that year. With that success, he was named Duquesne’s Student-Athlete of the Year for 2013-14.
His college career also included being a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American with a degree in secondary social studies education.
Directly after college, he spent the 2014-15 year as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Pittsburgh track and cross country teams.
Spisak has made a name for himself in the running community around Pittsburgh. Most recently, he was the top American finisher at the Pittsburgh Marathon, placing seventh overall in 2018. His time of 2 hours, 16 minutes is within qualification for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials for the marathon.
Spisak has also won first place in the Pittsburgh Great Race three times: 2013 and 2014 during his college days and again last fall of 2018.