Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Cliff Rovelto enters his 26th season at the helm of the K-State’s track program and his 30th season at the school.
Rovelto has coached numerous athletes to NCAA Titles, including Christoff Bryan (2017), Kim Williamson (2016) and Akela Jones (2016). In 2017, the women’s track and field team won their third Big 12 Outdoor Conference Championship in program history.
During the summer of 2016, he served as an assistant coach for the USA’s men’s track and field team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rovelto began his coaching career in 1979, coaching track and field at McLouth High School in Kansas. In his two years with the Bulldogs, he coached six state champions, five state record-holders and one high school All-American.
After two seasons with McLouth, he spent seven seasons at his alma mater, the University of Kansas. He served as a graduate assistant on the men’s team from 1981-83 before being named a full-time assistant and cross country coach for the women’s team in 1983.
In 1987, he was named interim head coach of the Kansas women’s team. He would go on to coach eight All-Americans and seven Big Eight champions during his time with the Jayhawks. He also saw 24 school records broken during his tenure. Rovelto came to K-State in 1988-89, as the assistant coach for the jumps and combined events.
He was named the head coach at Kansas State in Novemeber of 1992. Since then, the programs have earned 245 All American certificates (Cross Country – 10, Indoor – 111, Outdoor – 124) and won 163 conference individual championships (Indoor – 82, Outdoor – 81).
During his time at Kansas State, Rovelto has personally coached 15 NCAA individual champions and has personally coached 70 student-athletes who have earned 187 All-American certificates, including 124 first-team All-Americans, as well as 62 student-athletes who have won 97 conference championships. In 1998, the women’s cross country team won its only title in program history. Rovelto’s success at Kansas State has also earned him recognition on an international scale.
Over his career, he has coached a total of 16 individuals, who have represented their countries at the Olympic Games 21 times, including silver medalists Erik Kynard, Austra Skujyte and Matt Hemingway.
He served as the head coach of the U.S. Decathlon Team in dual meets with Germany in 1997 and 2003. He was also part of the Team USA staff at the 2002 IAAF World Cup in Madrid and was named to the U.S. coaching staff as a women’s assistant for the 2003 World Outdoor Championships in Paris.
In 2005, he was assigned as women’s assistant for Team USA at the Outdoor World Championship in Helsinki, Finland. He served on the men’s staff for Team USA at the 2007 World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan.
In 2010, he served as an assistant coach for the America’s team in Split, Croatia, for the IAAF Continental Cup.
He was the USA head men’s coach at the Pan-America Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011. In 2014 he served as an assistant coach for the Americas Team at the IAAF Continental Cup in Morocco.
Rovelto also served as the head coach for the USA Heptathlon team at the Thorpe Cup, an annual competition between the United States and Germany. In addition to his accolades, Rovelto’s most recent assignment was as an assistant coach for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro USA men’s Olympic team.
Coach Rovelto has also received numerous awards and recognitions for his successes on the track.
He is an eight-time Women’s Midwest Region Coach of the Year, the most recent coming in 2017. In 2001, he was recognized as the Women’s Outdoor National Coach of the Year. He was named Outdoor Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2001, 2002 and 2017 and the Indoor Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2015.
Rovelto assisted in writing the USATF coaching education curriculum for the combined events, as well as authoring numerous articles for professional journals. He has also authored videos on high jump, combined events, hurdles sprints and horizontal jumps.
He is a USA Coaching Education Level II and Level III instructor for the jumps and combined events and a USA Junior and Senior Development Clinician for the jumps and combined events. Rovelto has served as an IAAF Coaching School Clinician for the Combined Events and High Jump and has served as clinician/lecturer at numerous clinics/coaching schools throughout the world.
Rovelto is married to his wife Karol Rovelto, who serves as the director of operations and assistant track and field coach for the track and field and cross country teams. She was a professional high jumper and competed at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The couple lives in Manhattan.