BJU signs cross-country coaches, Bruins family expands


Emma Klak

Runners Aaron Iles and Abby Stanley train for next fall’s cross-country season. Photo: Emma Klak

Landon and Katie Bright will coach the Bruins cross-country teams this fall.   Photo: Submitted Husband and wife Landon and Katie Bright have joined the Bruins family as the new cross-country coaches. Both Landon and Katie bring years of running experience to the job.

Landon ran cross-country at Point Loma Nazarene University in California and was named All-American in the 2008 and 2009 season. Katie ran both track and field and cross-country at Point Loma and was a four-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes Golden Scholar-Athlete.

During college, Landon also helped coach a high school cross-country team in San Diego.

Both graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Point Loma before moving to West Texas and Hardin-Simmons University where Landon has been the assistant cross-country coach while working on his master’s degree in sports kinesiology, which he’ll receive this May.

The road to hiring the Brights first began in late December when cross-country was added to the Bruins intercollegiate program. Landon heard about the job soon after the new program was announced.

“Things travel pretty fast in the coaching world,” he said. After a few talks with coach Neal Ring, the Brights traveled to Greenville to check out the area and running facilities. After a lot of prayer and counsel, they decided to accept the position.

“I’ve wanted to coach since I was a sophomore in high school,” Landon said. He also described himself as having a unique approach to coaching. “There are some right ways to coach and a lot of wrong ways,” he said. “It really helped that I was a runner first to know the good ways [of coaching].”

Like many students on campus, Landon is excited about the upcoming cross-country season. “I’m looking forward to connecting with the core runners and building the program, hopefully drawing some good incoming runners in the next few years,” he said.

Landon also said that although the program is brand new, his goal is to make every athlete as fast as possible.

“Cross-country isn’t an easy sport,” he said. “It takes a lot of work and dedication. We’ll be running six days a week, in all [kinds of] weather and early in the morning. I want athletes that are passionate about running.” Landon said he is eager to share his vision about connecting running with a Christian worldview and that running is a great way to grow closer to God.

An informational meeting about cross-country will be held Thursday, April 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. in DFH 123. Landon said the meeting will be a time for potential cross-country runners to ask questions and learn his coaching style and expectations for training during the summer.