Cougar Legend to Step Down


After nearly two decades of unprecedented success, Columbus State University Director of Cross Country and Track & Field J.D. Evilsizer announced his retirement on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

One of the longest-tenured Cougars, Evilsizer coached the cross country teams for 17 years and, in 2010, was tasked with building the track and field program from scratch.

“Coach Evilsizer has always given 100% to Columbus State University and his sport, pouring his heart and soul into the program and the thousands of student-athletes he has positively impacted,” stated Director of Athletics Todd Reeser. “While there have been many successes and accomplishments by his teams and athletes during his career, he has always had the well-being of the student-athletes at the forefront.”

“We celebrate and thank JD for his tremendous leadership in developing our outstanding track and field and cross country programs. He will be greatly missed by the student-athletes and his extended Cougar athletic family, but we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Taking over a cross country program that never produced a team or individual Peach Belt Conference Championship, Evilsizer turned the Cougars into a powerhouse. After leading the women to their first PBC title in 2005, Evilsizer and the Cougars began one of the most dominant stretches in conference history. From 2006-10, Columbus State swept both the male and female PBC Championships with seven runners claiming individual titles.

At the national level, Evilsizer took the men to four NCAA Championships, including three straight from 2008-10. In 2010, Evilsizer coached two All-Americans with Meshack Koyiaki nearly capturing the individual national championship finishing as the runner-up. On the women’s side, the Cougars won two NCAA Southeast Regional titles (’09 and ’12) and advanced to three NCAA Championships under Evilsizer’s tutelage. Evilsizer and CSU also took home first at the men’s 2012 NCAA Southeast Regional meet.

Evilsizer is one of the most decorated coaches in Columbus State history winning five PBC Coach of the Year awards (men’s: ’06, ’09, ’10, ’13, women’s: ’10). In 2010, he became the second coach in conference history to collect both the men’s and women’s Coach of the Year honors in the same season. Also, he was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Southeast Region Coach of the Year three times (men’s: 2012, women’s: ’09, ’12).

All together on the cross country side, Evilsizer has trained 77 All-PBC runners, 31 All-Region Runners, and three All-Americans. He coached six PBC Runners and Freshman of the Year award winners.

Evilsizer didn’t waste any time putting Columbus State track and field on the national map. In just the first year of the program, two Cougars participated in the NCAA Championship with Shelisia Crawford earning the school’s first All-American honors in the 100-meter dash.

The success didn’t fade away. Over the next nine seasons, Evilsizer produced 11 more All-Americans, including the first ones on the male side in 2017.

Evilsizer also played an integral role as the Peach Belt established a track and field championship for the 2013 season. He was named the first-ever PBC Women’s Track & Field Coach of the Year during that season.

“My time at Columbus State has been very special,” said Evilsizer. “I have enjoyed all of my experiences with the athletes, coaches, faculty and staff, and am extremely grateful for this opportunity to be a part of such a great institution. The Columbus State experience will be greatly missed.”

Evilsizer also taught during his time at CSU as a professor in the Department of Mathematics.

Before coming to Columbus State, Evilsizer coached the Smiths Station High School program for 17 years and amassed 11 state team championships and numerous individual state champions. The school’s track and field complex is named in his honor.

Effective August 31, head women’s cross country coach, David Marley, will assume the role.

Categories: Georgia Sports