Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
A member of the 1988 United States Olympic Team and one of the best dual throwers in U.S. track & field history, Randy Heisler enters his ninth season as the head track & field and cross country coach at Ball State University in 2014-15.
In his eight previous seasons, Heisler has coached his student-athletes to 12 Mid-American Conference indoor and 10 MAC outdoor event championships. In addition, his student-athletes have made seven appearances at the NCAA Championships, with Amber Williams becoming the latest NCAA All-American in program history for her effort in the 100m hurdles at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Aside from the accomplishments of his athletes, Heisler's greatest legacy to date is the role he has played in bringing his sports back to Ball State's campus. In the spring of 2012, the outdoor track & field team defeated Bowling Green by a score of 121-36 in an April 14 dual meet at University Track which marked the program's first outdoor home event since March 29, 2003.
Earlier in the year, the cross country squad hosted both the Ball State Invitational (Oct. 14, 2011) and the 2011 Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championships (Oct. 29, 2011) at the Muncie Elks Country Club. The BSU Invitational was the first scored event the Cardinals had hosted since the 1996 MAC Championships (Nov. 2, 1996). Ball State had not hosted a scored regular season cross country meet since the Sept. 18, 1992 Ball State Invitational.
During the 2012 outdoor season, Thekla Lorenz earned First Team All-MAC accolades by winning the league title in the heptathlon with the second-best individual score in program history at 5,142. Lorenz would also pick up Academic All-MAC accolades for her effort, while MaryKate Mellen was named to the academic squad for the indoor season. The outdoor campaign also saw Rebecca Lomax advance to the NCAA East Preliminary Round for the second consecutive season in the high jump, where she placed 44th overall by clearing 5-5.75 (1.67m).
Lomax capped a stellar freshman campaign in 2011 by winning the MAC outdoor title and earning First Team All-MAC honors in the high jump with the second-best individual mark in program history at 5-10 (1.78m) which also earned her a slot at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. Lomax would finish just shy of qualifying for the NCAA Championships, placing 18th at the meet by clearing 5-8.75 (1.75m). Meanwhile, Lorenz picked up Second Team All-MAC and Academic All-MAC accolades for both the indoor and outdoor seasons, by placing second in the pentathlon (indoor) and heptathlon (outdoor) at the league championship meet.
In the 2010 season, Katie Johnson won her second career MAC outdoor title in the 100m hurdles, posting a time of 13.71 in the finals to earn First Team All-MAC honors. The effort qualified her for the NCAA East Regional in Greensboro, N.C., where she placed 44th overall. Johnson also earned second team All-MAC accolades during the indoor season, while Jenna Schmitmeyer and Lorenz garnered second team status during the outdoor season.
During the 2009 cross country season, Heisler helped coach junior Ali Bishel back to the NCAA Championships, as she placed 67th at the meet with a career-fast 6K clocking of 21:04.7. She also earned All-MAC First Team and Academic All-MAC accolades after placing fourth at the 2009 MAC Cross Country Championships with a 6K time of 22:33.0.
The 2009 track & field season saw Heisler led the program to a third-place tie at the MAC Indoor Championships, while placing sixth at the MAC Outdoor Championships. Combined, his student-athletes captured MAC individual titles in seven events.
At the 2009 indoor meet, Williams was named the Women's Most Valuable Performer after capturing titles in the 60m dash (7.44), 60m hurdles (8.24) and the 200m dash (24.27). Bishel earned the Women's Most Outstanding Track Performer award after winning the two longest events, the 3,000m run (9:43.23) and the 5,000m run (16:39.80). Both Williams and Bishel earned First Team All-MAC honors for their efforts. In addition, Lorenz was named to the All-MAC Second Team after placing second in the pentathlon (3,758).
Williams would also advance to compete at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, where she placed 12th in the 60m hurdles (8.46).
At the 2009 outdoor meet, Heisler helped Williams add two more event titles, as she won both the 100m dash (11.66) and the 100m hurdles (13.60) to earn All-MAC First Team accolades. Bishel and Johnson picked up All-MAC Second Team honors after placing second in the 10,000m (35:59.11) and 100m hurdles (13.68), respectively.
Both Williams and Johnson advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Mideast Regionals hosted by Louisville. Williams placed 19th in the 100m dash (11.86), while not finishing the 100m hurdles race. Johnson placed 18th in the 100m hurdles (13.86).
In addition to her on-track accolades, Bishel was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Second Team after racking up Academic All-MAC honors for both the indoor and outdoor campaigns.
In his first full year as the director of the program in 2008, Heisler led his student-athletes to eight MAC Championships, while the team placed fourth at the 2008 Indoor MAC Championships and tied for ninth in the 2008 MAC Outdoor Championships.
At the 2008 indoor meet, Bishel collected individual event titles in the mile (4:53.72) and the 3000m (9:40.59), while joining Lisa Arrowsmith, Schmitmeyer and Brittany Ade to capture the distance medley relay title with a clocking of 11:44.33. In addition, Lorenz became the first athlete in program history to win the pentathlon, posting 3,797 points. Ra'Jae Marable and Terri Abraham also picked up event championships at the meet, winning the 60m hurdles (8.58) and long jump (19-8 3/4), respectively.
At the 2008 outdoor meet, Amanda Barnhart leaped 20-2 1/4 to take home top honors in the long jump, while Johnson logged a time of 13.69 to win the 100m hurdles.
In addition to the MAC Champions, Heisler coached Barnhart and Bishel to appearances in the NCAA Championships. At the indoor championships, Bishel represented the Cardinals with a 16th-place effort in the 5,000m, while Barnhart placed 26th in the long jump at the outdoor meet.
Aside from the league accolades, Heisler helped coach Amber Williams to a fourth-place showing in the 60m hurdles at the 2008 USA Track & Field Indoor Championships. Williams, who redshirted at Ball State, posted a personal-best time of 8.16 in the event finals.
Earlier that year, Heisler's first BSU cross country team placed fifth at the MAC Championships, with Bishel running second overall. Bishel went on to compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, where she placed 52nd with a time of 21:12 on the 6K course.
In his first season as the track & field coach in 2007, Heisler helped guide Williams to All-America honors, as she placed 18th in the 100m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Williams, who also placed 15th in the 60m hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships, was a three-time MAC individual champion (Indoor: 60m hurdles; Outdoor: 100m dash & 100m hurdles).
Heisler, who officially started his duties at Ball State Jan. 4, 2007 after spending 18 seasons as a coach at Indiana, also coached Rose Lehe to BSU's first outdoor 3,000m steeplechase championship in 2007. During his first season, the program finished third at the 2007 MAC Indoor Championships and fourth at the 2007 MAC Outdoor Championships.
Heisler's success at Indiana included four NCAA Top 10 team finishes, five NCAA National Champions, 63 NCAA All-Americans and 76 Big Ten individual champions.
Heisler was named the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year four times and the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year three times. Indiana won three Big Ten Conference titles with Heisler as a coach.
Heisler started as an assistant coach for Indiana's men's and women's track & field team in 1989. In 1999, he was named head coach and in 2004, he was named director of men's and women's track & field.
A 1984 graduate of the University of Indianapolis where he earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education, Heisler earned his master's degree in sports science from Indiana in 1989.
Heisler, who retired as an athlete in 1996, was one of the top U.S. discus throwers for over a decade, representing the U.S. in international competition on 13 occasions. These include his efforts for the 1988 Olympic team and two World Championship teams, where he won a bronze medal in 1995.
Heisler's personal bests are 221-10' in the discus and 65-7' in the shot put, making him one of the best dual throwers in U.S. track and field history.
As a student-athlete, Heisler was a three-time NCAA Division II National Champion at Indianapolis. Since 1994, Heisler has been inducted into the Indiana High School Track and Field Hall of Fame, the University of Indianapolis Athletic Hall of Fame and, most recently, the NCAA Division II Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Heisler and his wife Tammy, have three children Lindsey, Kiley and Cameron.