I am very humbled to be back at Spokane Community College as a faculty instructor and the head track and field coach for both men and women. My start here at Spokane, as a student athlete, and then later as an assistant coach shaped my future in the track coaching world. I am so proud to be part of a school and a program that has meant so much to me for so long.
In his first NWAC Championships (2019) as the Spokane head coach, Spatz and his coaching staff saw 20 Spokane student athletes earn top three event finishes earning All-American recognition in 10 different events. 5 individuals earned 6 NWAC conference titles in their events, with JJ Curry earning NWAC Track Athlete of the Meet honors by winning the 100 (10.84), 200 (21.70) and anchoring the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays to runner up finished earning a team high 24 points. Jolene Whiteley was high point scorer for the women with winning the 3K Steeple (11:25.99), 5K (18:40.82), and runner up in the 1500 (4:55.58) scoring 28 points.
The 2021 season was without an NWAC championship, yet the sasquatch track squad racked up a total of 40 NWAC All-American honors by finishing the season ranked in the top three in their respective events on the conference performance list.
Entering his 36th year as a collegiate cross country/track and field coach, Spatz has developed 147 Performance All-Americans and 7 National Champions (4 NAIA), (3 NCAA II).
At Northwest Nazarene University (NCAA II) from 2002-2018, Spatz coached 520 GNAC All-Academic team members and 59 USTFCCCA Academic All-Americans. 206 athletes set school records, and 63 were GNAC event champions. His teams have produced a total of 148 GNAC All-Conference performances on the men’s side, and 161 GNAC All-Conference performances on the women’s side since 2002.
Coach Spatz saw 75 student athletes compete at the NCAA II national championships indoors and out with Ashley Puga winning the 2009 NCAA II National championship in the women’s 800 both indoor and outdoor with a best time of 2:04.45. Puga was inducted into the USTFCCAA National Track Hall of Fame ion 2018
In 2017 Payton Lewis won the National Championship outdoors in the pole vault with a winning jump of 17’ 7”. Lewis earned a total of 5 NCAA II All-American Awards during his career. Lewis and Puga are among the most decorated athletes in both NNU and GNAC history.
Coach Spatz coached at Eastern Oregon University (NAIA/NCAA III) for 14 years 1988-2002, including 12 years as head track and field coach for men and women. During that time Spatz coached 4 National Champions (Leah Merrell Hammer Throw, Kristen Peterson Pole Vault, April Haney Weigh Throw, Thad Hathaway High Jump).
A total of 33 Indoor All Americans, 24 Outdoor All American’s, and 18 athletes earned Scholar Athlete All American Honors. The teams accomplished many program firsts during his time there, including the first student athletes to compete at the NAIA Indoor National Champions (Jason Werst and Thad Hathaway), as well as the first female National Champion, Kristen Peterson in the women’s pole vault.
Spatz began coaching in 1985 at Spokane Community College as an assistant for Coach Hartman with the men’s team and Curt Ransford the women’s coach. From 1985-88 he coached several conference champions in the NWAACC and helping each team win conference titles. During the 1987-88 season he also coached at University High School in Spokane, his alma mater.
In 2014, Spatz was inducted into the Spokane Community College Athletic Hall of Fame as an athlete winning the conference decathlon in back-to-back years, setting the conference record both years. Spatz was also inducted as part of the coaching staff for both the 1986- and 1987-men’s championships track teams, and the 1986 women’s championship team.
His 1983 team was also inducted into the Hall of Fame having won the 17th straight conference title for Coach Buck and Coach Hartman. Spatz is one of a small group of Spokane athletes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a student athlete, team member and as part of a coaching staff.
The 1988 graduate of Eastern Washington University (NCAA I) is certified by USA Track & Field as both an official and Level II coach. From 1993-96 Spatz served as the chair of the NAIA Cultural Exchange Committee. In 1994 he led a group of NAIA athletes on a trip to Barcelona, Spain, where they participated in the Catalonian Senior Championships.
In 1995, Spatz was added to the World Sports Exchange (WSE) coaching staff. That August he traveled to Australia with WSE and 100 high school cross country athletes for 10 days of training and racing. In July of 2001, Spatz traveled to Laos and Thailand with 12 athletes and one other coach with Athletes in Action. The team led clinics in both countries covering all areas of track and field.
Beginning in 2005, Spatz has served as the Lead Track and Field Clinician for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes summer camps in Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Oregon. In the summer of 2008, Spatz helped develop one of the first FCA pole vault camps in the country.
Spatz and wife Cindy have two adult children, a daughter Rachael 30, and son Micah 26, and a bird dog, Annie Oakley 9.