Dec. 18, 2013
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force track and field head coach Ralph Lindeman finalized his coaching staff this week, with the hiring of Keith Vance as the Academy's new coach for the throwing events. Vance, who spent the last four years at Boise State University, brings a strong collegiate resume to the Falcons' program.
"I am very excited for the opportunity to work at the Air Force Academy," Vance said. "I think any coach in the country would be fortunate to work with the character and skill level of the athletes who attend the Academy. Coach Lindeman has had a fantastic program for a long time, led by a great cast of coaches, and I feel honored to have been asked to be a part of it. There is no question that Scott Irving leaves large shoes to fill ... his record speaks for itself ... but I look forward to helping the throwers continue their tradition of excellence."
Vance joined the Air Force program after spending four years at Boise State, where he guided the Broncos' throwers to three All-America awards, 10 conference titles and two school records. In addition, 12 of his athletes combined for 20 appearances in the first-round of the NCAA Championships.
Under his guidance, four Boise State throwers advanced to the NCAA National Championships, including Matt Post (2013 participant in the hammer throw), Mele Vaisima (2012 first-team All-America honors in the weight throw), Alex Nelson (2011 second-team All-America honors in the hammer throw) and Pontus Thomee (2010 NCAA runner-up and first-team All-America honors in the javelin throw).
Vance's athletes accounted for 10 conference titles (WAC and Mountain West), including a span of three straight weight throw titles by Trevor Kraychir. In addition, Thomee and Vaisima claimed two titles apiece in the javelin and weight throw, respectively, while Vaisima received the Outstanding Performance award at the 2012 MW Indoor Championships. During his four-year tenure, Boise State throwers accounted for nine all-MW (top-three) awards, 19 all-WAC First-Team and 10 all-WAC Second-Team honors.
His athletes also impacted the Boise State record books, with Vaisima (weight throw) and Alyssa Osai (discus throw) setting school records in their respective events. Vance also helped the Broncos' multi-event athletes in the throwing events, accounting for a part of Kurt Felix's records in the heptathlon and decathlon, as well as Alexi Morton's school record in the pentathlon.
Prior to his time in Boise, Vance spent four years at Tiffin University in Ohio. As the event coach for the Dragons' throwing team, his athletes accounted for seven conference outdoor championship titles and 35 all-conference (top-three) selections, as well as two American Mideast Conference Athlete of the Year recipients, five NCAA Academic All-Americans, 16 NAIA National Qualifiers and six NCAA National Qualifiers. In addition, his athletes posted 84 marks on Tiffin's all-time performance list.
He earned his undergraduate degree in sociology from The College of Wooster (Ohio) in 2004, while competing on the track and field team. Vance, who holds USATF Level 2 certification in the throwing events, went on to obtain his master's degree in business administration from Tiffin University. He and his wife, Jennifer, have a four-month-old son, Conner.
"We're all really excited to be adding Keith to our coaching staff," Lindeman said. "I've been watching him coach for the past four years and have been really impressed with his knowledge, coaching style and passion. His results have certainly been impressive, when considering the number of Mountain West champions and standouts he has coached, but most importantly, I believe that Keith will be a great fit for the Air Force Academy, its mission and its core values. We're thrilled that Keith and his family have decided to become a part of the Falcon Track and Field Family."
In addition, Lindeman announced that Scott Steffan has been promoted to associate head coach. Steffan, in his seventh season with the Falcons' track and field program, was the named the 2012 National Collegiate Pole Vault Coach of the Year and has claimed the last three USTFCCCA Mountain Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year awards.