Click here to Skip to main content
University of Oregon - Track & Field
University of Oregon - Track & Field mobile



Dr. Tim Sykes is in his first season as a volunteer assistant coach for the distance and cross country programs.

Prior to his move to Oregon, Sykes served as both an assistant track & field and cross country coach at Liberty University (2017) before being named head cross country coach in January 2018.

Sykes, who coached the men's and women's distance runners, helped Noel Palmer improve from high school personal bests of 10:47 in the 3,200 and 17:45 in the 5K to 16:28 in the 5K and 34:41 in the 10K as a freshman in 2018. She Placed 18th overall (third among freshmen) in her NCAA East Preliminary Round 10K debut and earned a fourth place finish in the 5k at USATF Junior Outdoor Championships. He also saw Colin Schultz finish off his collegiate career with personal bests of 1:48.96 in the 800 and a school-record 3:43.58 in the 1,500. Additionally, Sykes guided Azaria Kirwa to a lifetime-best 13:55.74 indoor 5K at the 2018 Iowa State Classic. Only NCAA national champions Sam Chelanga and Josh McDougal have ever run faster as Flames.

During his first year at Liberty, Sykes oversaw Azaria Kirwa's breakthrough sophomore track & field campaign. Kirwa ran the 5K at the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships and also clocked impressive times of 14:00.29 (5K) and 29:05.57 (10K) during the season. Kirwa carried that momentum into the 2017 cross country season, where he placed fourth at Pre-Nationals with an 8K time of 23:11.4 and 25th at the NCAA meet for All-America honors.

Sykes, who began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Ohio track & field teams in 2004, returned to the Bobcats as a volunteer assistant for cross country and track & field in 2013. In July 2015, Sykes was promoted to assistant women's cross country and track & field coach, taking over all coaching duties for the Bobcats' women's distance runners.

In between his stints at Ohio, Sykes spent eight years coaching in Virginia, culminating with the 2012 season, when he served as VMI's head cross country and assistant track & field coach.

Prior to that, Sykes was a volunteer assistant at VMI (2004-07), a volunteer assistant at Virginia Tech (2007-10) and an assistant cross country and track & field coach at VMI (2010-12).

A native of Amanda, Ohio, Sykes competed in cross country and track & field at Rio Grande from 1999-2003. He then completed his final year of eligibility at Ohio (2003-04).

Sykes, a USA Track & Field Level I coach, has also been active in education. He was the coordinator of UVA-Wise's health and physical education program during the 2012-13 academic year. Sykes has also taught a variety of college courses at Ohio, VMI and UVA-Wise.

Sykes has earned three degrees, beginning with a bachelor's in multi-age physical education licensure from Rio Grande in 2003. The following year, he completed a master's in recreation, sport sciences & pedagogy: coaching education at Ohio.

In 2011, Sykes graduated from Virginia Tech with a Ph.D. in education, curriculum and instruction: health promotion & sports performance. His dissertation was entitled, "The Effect of Training Protocols on Satisfaction and Performance of Collegiate Distance Runners."