Luke Syverson is entering his fifth year as an assistant track & field and cross country coach at Lipscomb University.
Coach Syverson primarily serves as the field event coach. For the past four years he has also functioned as the recruiting coordinator for Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Men’s Distance events. Syverson also assists with both the men’s and women’s cross country programs.
The 2014 Indoor and Outdoor season followed previous record breaking seasons for the field event athletes since Syverson’s arrival in 2010. This past season, 11 ASUN All-Conference honors were earned along with 14 new indoor and outdoor school records being broken by Bison field event athletes. The jumpers were led by sophomore Gemikal Prude who earned NCAA All-American honors at both the 2014 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Gemikal is the first Lipscomb men’s track & field athlete to qualify for either championship event. He also improved the Lipscomb school record in the event to 2.21 meters outdoors. Bison newcomer, Phillip Smith capped off a great freshman campaign by finishing as ASUN runner-up in the triple jump and went on to finish seventh at the USATF Junior Outdoor National Championships with a personal record of 15.16 meters.
On the women’s side, junior April Terry led the way by once again re-breaking all four of her school records in the shot put, weight throw, and hammer. Freshman Annika Backlund and sophomore Ki’Ana Christy each broke both indoor and outdoor school records in the pole vault and triple jump respectively. Lipscomb javelin throwers also shined taking three of the six ASUN All-Conference honors available at the outdoor meet.
During the 2013 season, Syverson coached his athletes to nine ASUN All-Conference honors including ASUN Outdoor Championship titles in the men’s high jump and men’s discus. This past season, 10 Lipscomb women’s track & field school records and four men’s track and field school records were broken in the jumps and throws. Highlights included freshman Gemikal Prude winning the ASUN high jump title after finishing second during the indoor season, breaking Phil Bodiford’s indoor and outdoor records from 1976. Prude went on to qualify for the NCAA East Preliminaries in the event, where he finished 18th. Bison sophomore Houston Ward won the ASUN discus title along with runner-up honors in both the indoor and outdoor shot put. Sophomore April Terry continued her progression as she broke all four of her own school records in the indoor shot put, indoor weight throw, outdoor shot put, and hammer throw. Junior John Clevenger earned all ASUN honors with his third place finish in the javelin and sophomore Kevin Flyod earned all ASUN honors with his runner-up finish in the outdoor pole vault.
In 2012, his second full season at the helm of the throwing events, Syverson coached freshman Houston Ward to All-Conference honors in the men’s shot put at the 2012 ASUN Indoor Championships, and coached Houston’s teammate and fellow freshman April Terry as she added four school records in the women’s throws. Lipscomb throwers and jumpers accounted for 12 top eight finishes at the 2012 ASUN Outdoor Championships in 2012. These honors included All-Conference honors earned by Junior Taylor Mason in the women’s javelin.
In his first season (2011) at Lipscomb, Syverson’s athletes accounted for 14 new school records in the sprints and throws, and included all of the outdoor sprint and relay records on the women’s side. Other highlights included freshman Tucker Peabody’s ASUN All-Conference honors in the 200 meters, with a time that broke a 35-year-old Lipscomb school record. Tucker qualified for the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships in both the 100 meters and 200 meters.
Syverson competed in the long jump and triple jump for Washington State University of the Pac-12 and finished his Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University in Physical Education in 1998.
Syverson began his coaching career at Pullman High School where he was responsible for the horizontal jumpers. During his two years at Pullman, he coached five state qualifiers in the jumps including the fifth farthest long jumper in Washington state history.
From 1996-2002, Syverson served as the assistant coach at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington where he coached the long, triple, and high Jumps. While at Whitworth, Syverson coached numerous conference and national qualifiers in the jumps at the NAIA and NCAA D III level. At the 2001 Northwest Conference Championships, Whitworth’s women’s track & field team won their first ever title and the men won their first conference championship in 30 years.
After a brief break from coaching due to a career in retail management with Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), Syverson became the Athletic Director and Dean of Students at Mount Rainier Lutheran High School in Tacoma, Wash. in 2005. Syverson was charged with creating the first athletic program at the new school and became the school’s first cross-country and track & field coach. In the first five years, Syverson’s teams captured three state track & field championships, sweeping both the boy’s and girl’s titles in 2010. It was the first time a school in their classification had swept both titles in state history. His cross-country teams placed in the top eight at the state championships three times. His teams earned six District and six league championships, and his track & field athletes qualified for the state championships 47 times while his cross country runners qualified for the state championships 38 times. He was named Sea-Tac League Coach of the Year six times.
Syverson has also served as the horizontal jumps coach at the Washington State University track & field camp 12 times. He has coached all event areas and has been a presenter and speaker at several coaching clinics and schools. He is a USATF level two certified coach in the sprints, hurdles, and relays. He also holds a USTFCCCA Technical Certification in throws and still competes occasionally at the Master’s level. He was the 2008 USATF Master’s National Champion in the triple jump and javelin in his age group.
Luke and his wife, Sarah, reside in Franklin with their four children. He enjoys all sports and outdoor recreation including mountain bike and cyclocross racing, hiking, and skiing.