FOREST CITY, Iowa – The growing and continually successful Warrior track & field and cross country programs have a new leader.
Waldorf director of athletics Chad Gassman is pleased to introduce Joel Popenfoose as the new head coach for Warrior track & field and director of cross country.
“Joel is a great addition to our team,” Gassman said of Popenfoose who filled the same role at Judson University in Illinois under Gassman, who was the Eagles’ director of athletics at the time. “He did a great job at Judson and I know he will do the same at Waldorf.”
Popenfoose served as head track & field coach at Judson since 2013 and moved into the combined role of director of cross country and head track & field coach for the Eagles in 2017.
In 2019. he added the title of director of athletics to his duties at Judson when Gassman took over as director of athletics at Waldorf.
“I am excited to become part of the Waldorf community,” Popenfoose said. “I am grateful for the confidence Dr. Robert Alsop and Chad Gassman have placed in me and for the opportunity to serve here at Waldorf.
“I look forward to meeting the staff and student-athletes,” Waldorf’s newest head coach added. “I’m happy to be a Warrior and I can’t wait to get started.”
Popenfoose takes over Warrior programs that have been surging of late as Damarre Martin won the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championship in the men’s 400 meters in the spring of 2020, and Waldorf also saw Peyton Russell earn All-American honors in the women’s javelin in outdoor track & field in the summer of 2018, and saw Marissa Kuik win back-to-back NSAA Women’s Cross Country Championships in 2017 and 2018 and All-American honors in cross country in the fall of 2018.
And the new Waldorf coach is certainly a great choice to add to that success as Popenfoose coached six NAIA National Champions at Judson, a US Olympic Trials Qualifier, two Top-5 USATF Championship finishers, 21 NAIA All-Americans, and 53 NAIA national qualifiers.
“Joel comes with experience and success, but most importantly he is a man of high integrity and has a passion for helping his student-athletes on and off the field of competition,” Gassman said.
Along with being a championship coach and AD at Judson, Popenfoose also worked as an adjunct professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science starting in 2014, and prior to joining the staff at Judson was the varsity assistant coach for boys track & field, and football, at Huntley High School in Huntley, Ill.
A graduate of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Bible-Theology, Popenfoose earned his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill.
Along with his college education, he holds certifications from the USTFCCCA Academy in Program Management, Injury Management, Sprint, Hurdle & Relay Specialist, Track-Football Consortium V Strength & Conditioning, Level I Coaching Education, and Technical Certifications.
While Popenfoose takes over as the head coach for track & field and as director of cross country for the Warriors, Waldorf’s current head cross country coach DJ Wolfram will continue in his current duties coaching the cross country team and as an assistant coach for track & field working with the Waldorf distance runners. Wolfram, who also coached at Judson, filled the role of distance coach under Popenfoose for two seasons with the Eagles before joining the Warrior Athletic department.