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Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at the University of Dubuque


Chad Gunnelson, joined UD in 2011 and began leading the program. He is the first coach to lead the Spartans to back-to-back conference titles in over 50 years and their first-ever indoor championship. He was named Coach of the Year by the American Rivers Conference (formerly Iowa Conference) in 2014, 2017, and 2018, and Central Region Coach of the Year by the United States Track and Cross Country Coaches Association in 2017 and 2018. Throughout his tenure at the helm, the Spartans have rewritten the record books, breaking nearly 100 different school records in both track & field and cross country.

Prior to his arrival at UD, Gunnelson, a native of Madison, Wis., spent six years as the head boy’s and girl’s track & field coach at Madison East High School. At Madison East, Gunnelson coached 22 school record holders and back-to-back state champions in 2010 and 2011. In his final year with the Purgolders, the team earned a 3.24 GPA, had four sectional champions, and placed all four state qualifiers on the podium at the WIAA state meet, including a state champion in the 400 meters.

Along with coaching, Gunnelson was the owner and CEO of Athletic Republic, a sports performance training facility, from 2007 to 2011 where he built the Athletic Republic into the largest training facility in the Madison area and trained youth, high school, college, Olympians, and professional athletes in football, baseball, basketball, hockey.

Outside of his duties at UD, Coach Gunnelson is actively involved in the sport of track & field beyond coaching. He serves on the USTFCCCA Division III track & field executive committee, the American Rivers Conference coaches' chair, he is a member of the American Rivers Conference championships sub-committee and the college coaches’ representative for the Iowa Association of Track Coaches. 

Gunnelson currently holds USTFCCCA Specialist Certifications in jumps, endurance, and strength & conditioning. He holds a USATF Level 1 certification and Level 2 sprints, hurdles, relays certification as well. Along with track & field coaching, Gunnelson is a certified performance coach with USA Weightlifting, certified in the Functional Movement Screen, and is a member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

Coach Gunnelson loves to pay it forward to the coaching world speaking at high school clinics around the country, coaching at various camps, and presented at the USTFCCCA National Convention. He also instructs the USTFCCCA Track & Field Technical Certification course.