NASHVILLE – Lipscomb cross country and track and field have added Jenny Randolph and Tim Muller to the staff as assistant coaches.
Randolph has been promoted from graduate assistant, a position she has held the last four years, to a full-time assistant coach position.
"I inherited Jenny when she was a freshman in 2007, or maybe I should say that Jenny inherited me,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Filed Bill Taylor said. “I was hired about a week before the season. Jenny was recruited by the previous coaches. So she was a freshman who found out that the coaches that recruited her were gone.
“For most of that summer before her freshman year she didn't have a coach. Then suddenly I get hired. I sent my new team a massive e-mail listing my coaching successes and declaring the future of the program, my expectations of future success. It's funny, I was planning to motivate them and move their expectations to a whole new level. It really just scared them.”
Randolph ran four years for Lipscomb, her first of which was Taylor’s first year with the program as well, and was a team captain for three years.
"Somehow it didn't scare Jenny away,” Taylor said. “I learned quickly to count on Jenny as a leader on the team. She became a team captain, along with her roommate and classmate Caitlin Anderson, as sophomores.
“Those were tough years athletically. I inherited a culture and needed to change that culture into a winning culture, but to change it, I had to work with it, if that makes any sense. That's a difficult task. Jenny helped lead the team through a lot of change and a big transition, and has had a hand in all of the success we have built.”
During Randolph’s four seasons, the team improved dramatically. By her senior year, the program was reaching new heights.
"I think her senior year we finished second in the conference, by far our best finish ever,” Taylor said. “I really wanted her to run on a conference championship team.
“During her senior year, once I knew we had an open graduate assistant spot, I asked her if she wanted to stick around and learn to coach. She thought it was a good idea. We won the conference championship her first year as a coach, so she got to experience the conference title, but from the coaching side instead. We've won four in a row now.”
During these past four years as a graduate assistant, Randolph has earned a Master’s degree in education and psychology.
"Jenny earned her Master’s degree in Education after two years,” Taylor said. “I didn't have a full-time position for her after that, so I asked her if she would consider staying two more years as a grad assistant.
“I didn't really think she would do it. It's a lot to ask of someone. She did though. She felt like there was unfinished business, and she wanted to continue to be a part of our rapid growth and increasing success. She has been invaluable to the program.”
Taylor has big plans for Randolph in the grand scheme of things for the program, as he believes she brings a versatile skillset to the team.
"Jenny has amazing rapport with the women's team,” Taylor said. “She is super loyal, an incredibly hard worker, believes in the program, believes in the goals I have set, and is able to communicate the same things in a different way, which is vital. She has a huge heart for people and for God.
"I was so happy when we got approval to move Jenny up. I know the whole team, especially the women's team, was ecstatic. She earned this opportunity, and she will help us continue our national rise and our quest to be the best distance program in the nation at the NCAA Division I level."
Muller ran with the cross country from 2009 to 2014.
"Tim ran four and a half years for us and was a major force in moving the men's program forward,” Taylor said. “It's funny though, I was really surprised when we got Tim to sign with us. He came on an official visit during his senior year of high school. He arrived on a Sunday, and we took Tim and all our other recruits out to dinner. Before we could order Tim was feeling really sick. So I ended up driving him back to the dorms, where he puked a bunch that night and laid in the dorm room completely miserable.
"He missed all the fun stuff on the visit; dinner, seeing Nashville, doing fun activities and most importantly the time with the team. He was a little better on Monday and was able to complete the visit. We took him to the airport and I thought "well, there is no way we are getting him'. I was really surprised when Tim committed. It was a God thing.”
Muller was a team captain during his time as a Bison. He decided to us his final redshirt season to attempt winning the program’s first men’s A-Sun championship in 2009 with classmates and teammates Geoff Musick and Isaiah Greer. They won the title on Lipscomb’s home course.
"Tim invested a ton into this program and had a few injuries that really set him back,” Muller said. “He kept the faith and was just so committed to the guys on the team. When I recruited them I think I told Tim and his classmates that we would win the conference before he was done with the program. If I said that, I didn't think it would take a fifth year.
"I'm just glad they got to experience that and to put their mark on our history. It was so great when those guys got to stand up there and hold the banner and trophy high.”
Taylor believes that like Randolph, Muller has several skills that will help him excel as a coach.
"Tim is a very hard worker, he is very loyal, he has an incredible sense of humor, and he understands our philosophy here,” Taylor said. “He is also a man of God and a strong leader. When the position came available I quickly thought of him, and couldn't think of anyone else for the position. We didn't know if we had any chance to get him though.
"Tim earned an Engineering degree at Lipscomb, and had a full-time position. There was a lot of doubt about whether he would give that up to try out coaching. I know it was a tough decision for him. His love for the sport, for mentoring people and for this program won out. He is going to be an incredible addition to our staff.”
Taylor is excited about both additions to the staff and what they will bring to the team.
"We are really blessed that Jenny and Tim are with us,” Taylor said. “I think it's also a testament to the type of program we have built and are building that our former athletes want to come back and help us continue to build. I'm really proud of both of them and the whole program.”