Jason Pyles is in his fifth season at the helm of the Davis & Elkins College cross country and track & field programs after being named the head men’s and women’s coach prior to the 2016-17 academic year.
Despite a cancellation of the 2020 outdoor track season, Pyles guided the Senators to arguably the best season in program history across the board in 2019-20. Earning the 2019 Mountain East Conference Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year award, Pyles developed a precocious women’s group, who went from unranked before the season to first in the Atlantic Region during the year, to a conference championship after placing five freshman within the top ten.
Svea Timm won the 2019 MEC Runner and Freshman of the Year in cross country as the squad finished second at the NCAA DII Atlantic Regional race to earn an automatic spot at the 2019 NCAA DII National Championships. The men’s team also raced to a third-place finish at regionals, clinching an automatic bid to nationals and marking the first time a DII school in the state of West Virginia sent both its men’s and women’s programs to nationals in the same season.
The record-setting 2019 cross country season was also a successful one in the classroom for the Senators as both the men’s and women’s program earned All-Academic Team Honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Additionally, seven individuals received Scholar-Athlete distinction for carrying a 3.25 cumulative GPA or higher and finishing in the top 30 percent of their regional meet.
The 2019-20 indoor track season saw several school records fall, particularly as the season progressed into the league championships. Natalia Hidalgo Martinez became the first D&E athlete to win an event at the MEC Track & Field Championships with a victory in the 5,000-meter race and Svea Timm added a win in the 3,000m. Roxine Chambers was victorious at the MEC Indoor Championships in the 400m before joining the victorious 4×400 relay squad, consisting of Chambers, Samantha Kirk, Roxanne McFarlin and Jakeya Perrin.
Pyles pushed the program to levels of unprecedented success in 2018-2019, with four runners winning G-MAC Track & Field Championships, three runners hitting NCAA provisional times, two USTFCCA All-Regional selections, and Emeric Arnaud winning G-MAC Outdoor Track & Field Freshman of the Year.
In his first two seasons, Pyles has guided the cross country and track & field programs up the ladder in one of the toughest conferences and regionals in the country, as the men’s and women’s programs have both posted record finishes at the NCAA Regionals.
Pyles joined D&E after serving as associate head coach/recruiting coordinator at West Virginia Wesleyan College where he helped coach the women’s cross country team to a conference title and an individual runner to an NCAA DII All-Region team. He helped the men’s cross country team to a runners-up finish in the conference meet and a top 10 regional finish.
A native of Gallapolis, W.Va., Pyles graduated from Point Pleasant High School in 2000 and went on to Marshall University to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 2005. During the year he was also an assistant track coach at Winfield High School, helping the men and women’s teams to AA State Championship team titles.
In 2007 he completed his master’s degree in adult and technical education at Marshall University. Pyles was a scholarship performer for the Thundering Herd cross country and track and field teams as well as a walk-on member of the basketball team for one season. He was honored with the Marshall University Cross Country Leadership Award on two separate occasions.
Pyles served as an assistant coach while completing his master’s degree, helping the team to break five school distance records and coached the first Marshall C-USA All-Conference cross country runner.
Pyles also spent two years as head cross country and track and field coach at the University of Charleston from 2009-2011.
Pyles and his wife, Marian, reside in Elkins with their two daughters, Clara and Chelsea.