Chris Beene enters his eighth season as head coach of the cross country and track and field teams at South Plains College.
Since his arrival in Levelland, Beene has led the Texans and Lady Texans to a combined 17 NJCAA championships in men's and women's cross country, half-marathon, indoor track and outdoor track, all of which have flooded in since 2006.
The 2010-11 school year saw Beene's teams rack up four NJCAA national titles, the first coming when the Lady Texans claimed a share of the NJCAA Half-Marathon title in November by posting a score of 17 points. The following March the Lady Texan indoor track and field team dominated the field by nearly 100 points to lay claim to a second NJCAA championship of the school year and then both the Texans and Lady Texans swept the outdoor track titles in May, marking the third consecutive year they have combined to sweep the competition.
In all, Beene helped lead his athletes to a combined 28 individual and relay national championships as well as a grand total of 55 All-American certificates during the 2010-11 seasons. For their efforts, Natoya Goule and Jura Levy were named co-athletes of the meet after both indoor and outdoor NJCAA Championship meets. Beene earned the distinction of being named the Women's Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Meet as well as the Men's Outdoor Coach of the Meet.
Beene helped guide six athletes to nine All-American awards during the 2009 cross country season that culminated with the Texan men defending their title at the NJCAA half-marathon held in Overland Park, Kansas. Later that spring, Beene coached Kelly Closse (shot put, discus), Colleen Felix (javelin), Shakeeri Cole (800), and Marcelis Lynch (800) to individual titles in addition to helping guide the 4x800 meter relay team easily win in Hutchinson where both the men's and women's teams took home team titles for the second year in a row. For his efforts, Beene was later voted by his peers as Coach of the Year for both men and women.
The 2008-09 fall and spring seasons may very well have been the best in a rich history of South Plains College track and cross country teams as SPC won five championships out of eight possible, with the SPC men coming just short of sweeping all four. It all started with the Texans coming away with a half-marathon championship in the fall. The Texan and Lady Texan track teams then blew away their competition in the spring by sweeping each of the NJCAA indoor and outdoor national championships and are only one-of-four schools to ever win all four titles in the same year at any collegiate level. The Texan cross country team finished only 12 points away from taking the cross country title.
In the last six years, Beene has coached athletes that currently hold 9 NJCAA meet or national records. His athletes who have won over 100 individual and relay national championships, and a host of all-American awards.
Beene came to South Plains College from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, where he was named Women's NAIA Region 5 and 6 Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004. He also earned Men's Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2003 and 2004 and also won the NAIA Sooner Athletic Conference championship in 2003.
Before Wayland, Beene served four seasons as an assistant coach at Texas Tech University where he was in charge of coaching the multi-events, pole vault, and javelin. He has also had previous coaching stints at Abilene Christian University and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
During his time at Abilene Christian, Beene was part of 12 NCAA Division II national team championships. He also coached two decathletes to individual national championships as well.
Additionally, Beene coached Stephen Moore and Trafton Rodgers. Rodgers went on to win the USATF Men's Heptathlon Indoor Championships, while Moore won a USA Indoor championship and went on to place fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Both have competed in the United States Olympic Trials, with Rodgers in 2000 and Moore in 2000 as well as 2004. Moore also won a gold medal in the decathlon at the Pan-American Games.
A former all-American decathlete, Beene received both his bachelor and master degrees in kinesiology from Angelo State University. He and his wife, Corye, have a daughter, Faith, and a son, Sage.
Mendy Wyatt begins her first year as head athletic trainer at South Plains College after spending the previous 3 1/2 years as an athletic trainer and Outreach Services Coordinator for Lubbock Sports Medicine where she coordinated schedules for twenty-eight high school outreach programs in addition to supervising athletic trainers in an outreach setting, among many other duties.
At South Plains College, Wyatt's primary responsibilities include direct care of Texan and Lady Texan student-athletes, supervision of student athletic trainers, as well as management and administration of the athletic training room. She is no stranger to SPC as she has helped cover events in the past and has served as Coach Michelle Wyatt's summer camp trainer for six years.
The native of Abilene also has previous work experience as an athletic trainer at Covenant Sports Medicine (1997-2007), Abilene Muscle and Joint Clinic (1993-1996), and Ryder High School (1992-1993) in Wichita Falls.
Wyatt received a bachelor's degree from McMurry University and has earned hours toward a Masters of Athletic Training degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). She is currently working to finish a masters degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Married in 1995, Wyatt and her husband Robert have twin boys, Alex and Ryan, who are currently in the seventh grade. Wyatt's hobbies include reading, working with rescue animals, and watching her children play sports.
Frank Barker begins his second season assisting the Texan and Lady Texan cross country and track and field teams. He will work primarily with the distance runners.
His first season with South Plains College proved to be a successful one as he helped the Lady Texans to a share of the NJCAA Half-Marathon championship in November, 2010. A week earlier at the NJCAA cross country championships, both squads ran well with the Lady Texans coming up just short of the title with a runner-up finish and the Texans finishing third. Seven athletes earned All-American honors.
Coach Barker spent 39 years as a coach and teacher at Levelland Independent School District. His career in Levelland began in 1969 as an assistant football coach. He began coaching the cross country team in 1976 where he helped his teams qualify to every regional meet, except 1983, until his retirement.
In 1982 Barker took over as the head track coach for varsity girls.
After his retirement from Levelland after the 2008 school year, Coach Barker signed on to assist the cross country and track teams at Lubbock Christian University. In his two year stint at LCU Barker helped coach five athletes to the NAIA national meet and one became an all-American.
A native of Clovis, N.M. and a Clovis High School graduate, Janee' starts her second year at SPC and is the daughter of the late Rosetta Garcia. She has a brother, Joe Garcia. Her hobbies include playing softball, volleyball and shopping and her favorite athlete is Jennie Finch. She wants to become an athletic trainer because she loves sports and medicine. Janee' will be working with the Cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams.
Mercedes Vasquez is the daughter of Pete and Ophelia Vasquez from New Deal, TX. She graduated from New Deal High School. She has an older brother, Joshua, a younger sister, Veronica and a younger brother, Zachary. She loves to watch the Dallas Cowboys play football, hang with family and friends, shopping and texting. She was inspired by her high school Athletic Trainer to go into a career in Sports Medicine. Mercedes will be workingwith the cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track and field teams.