Sept. 11, 2013
J.P. Behnke has been promoted to full-time assistant coach for the cross country, track and field programs, announced by Oakland head coach Paul Rice. Behnke has served on the coaching staff for the past seven seasons as a part-time coach.
"I am very excited about this opportunity," said Behnke. "Being able to coach full-time will allow me to put more time and energy into helping our student-athletes reach their peak performance. I want to thank Paul (Rice) and the administration for giving me an opportunity to join the staff on a full-time basis."
Behnke is USATF level 2 certified in jumps, sprints, hurdles and relays among his many accomplishments. While at Oakland, he has coached Jason Bigelow to a record in the 1500 meters in The Summit League as well as a 23rd-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Also in 2010, he coached the men's distance medley relay team to a league title, its second in two years, and a conference record. Freshman Jeff Aririguzo earned runner-up finishes in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the 2013 Summit League Outdoor Track and Field Championships under Behnke's direction.
"I am so thrilled to announce J.P. as our first ever full-time coach for the Oakland track and field and cross country programs," said head coach, Paul Rice. "J.P. has been on our staff since 2007 and he has done a tremendous job with his event groups producing multiple All-League athletes, a League Champion and our only NCAA Finals qualifier. J.P. brings with him a great passion for our sport and for our program at OU. I am looking forward to his more extensive involvement in our program and I know that with his help we will be very successful in our transition to the Horizon League."
Prior to joining the Oakland staff, Behnke coached at Fitzgerald High School in Warren, Mich. He spent two seasons as the boys' head varsity coach from 2004-06. Behnke earned his master's degree in health science in 2013 from St. Francis University in Loretta, Pa.
He was a four-year letterwinner in track and a three-year letterwinner in cross country. He is the school record holder in the indoor and outdoor 800m races as well as a two-time runner up at the GLIAC championships in the 800m race. Behnke graduated from Lake Superior State with a bachelor's degree in 2002.