Entering the 2023-24 athletic season, the Mighty Oaks welcome a number of new coaches, including some new head coaches. Two of the new coaches arrived on campus in July to begin their time helping to build upon the legacy of OCU athletic history.
Jack Kegg joins as the new head track and field coach, while Jamie Bladen comes in to coach the women’s soccer program. Prior to coming Oakland City University, Coach Kegg was the head track & field and cross-country coach for men and women at Oregon Tech for eleven years. Before that he had a five-year stint as the lead assistant in track and cross country at Eastern Oregon University where he was responsible for sprints, hurdles, relays, jumps, and multis. Coach Kegg also was the head track coach at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon, for ten years.
During Kegg’s career he has coached 272 NAIA National Qualifiers, 363 All-Americans, including 74 at the NAIA level and 288 at the Junior College level, and 11 NAIA National Champions. In the 2018-19 Academic year Kegg’s Women’s program was the number two program in the NAIA with National Finishes of 1st in Cross Country, 7th in Indoor Track and 10th in Outdoor Track.
His coaching honors include NAIA Women’s Cross-Country Coach of the Year, USTFCCCA NAIA Women’s Cross-Country Coach of the Year, two USTFCCCA NAIA West Regional Women’s Cross-Country Coach of the Year awards, two Cascade Conference Women’s Cross-Country Coach of the Year, NWACC Women’s Track Coach of the Year, and Southern Region NWACC Men’s Track Coach of the Year.
Kegg’s accomplishments are not just on the track. He has produced academically as well, with 46 NAIA Scholar teams and 162 NAIA Scholar Athletes. 2020 Google Cloud First Team NAIA Women’s CC & Track Scholar Athlete of the Year, five Google Cloud First Team Academic All-Americans in Track & Field, the 2018 Women’s NAIA Scholar Team of the Year for Cross Country, 2018 NAIA Indoor Field Men’s Scholar Athlete of the year, and the 2017 NAIA XC Scholar athletes of the year Male and Female.
Coach Kegg has had sixteen NAIA National Cross Country team appearances. All team finishes were in the top 25 with three top 10 finishes, nine placed 11-20th, with four placing 21-25th. In 2011 he had the NAIA National high point scorer – Field Athlete for Indoor Track. Nine Olympic or US Nationals Qualifiers, one World and Olympic participant, two World University Games competitors, and an Olympic Training Center Emerging Elite Decathlon Camp participant were all coached by Kegg. He has coached five NAIA West Regional Athletes of the Year and four National Junior College Records. He has 12 conference cross country titles and four conference track titles.
The men’s and women’s track teams will be in their second full year of competition in the 2023-24 season, after a strong showing last year, and will look to continue to improve under the direction of coach Kegg.
Jamie Bladen begins his tenure as the women's soccer head coach at Oakland City University after a standout career as both a player and a coach. A native of Doncaster, England, Coach Bladen most recently was the head coach of both the men's and women's soccer programs at Cardinal Stritch University, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the previous seven seasons.
While at Cardinal Stritch University, a fellow NAIA program and members of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Wolves won four consecutive men's soccer CCAC regular season and conference tournaments (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020-21). The women's team won the 2016 CCAC regular season title, as well as the 2018, 2020-21, and 2022 conference tournament championships.
Under the direction of coach Bladen, the CSU men's team reached a peak of #7 in the NAIA national rankings, while the women's team were ranked as high as #16. The men advanced to the last eight in 2018, while the women's team reached the last 16 the same season. The men's team also reached the last 16 in 2017.
Coach Bladen led the men's program to an overall record of 99-33-11, including a conference mark of 82-14-7, while the women's team went 95-32-6, including a 79-17-3 CCAC record. He coached over 60 all-conference players, including five Player-of-the-Year award winners, and four Freshman-of-the-Year winners. He was named CCAC Coach of the Year in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020-21.
Besides a strong showing on the field of play, Bladen also led his teams in the classroom, as both the men's and women's programs consistently held over a 3.5 grade point average under his watch.
Prior to his time at Cardinal Stritch University, Bladen worked with the ECNL U13 to U18/19 program, coaching the first National Championship team for the state of Wisconsin (boys U18 NPL). He also coached and won the Wisconsin State Championship with the U16 boys team, as well as reaching the USYS Region II Championship final. He helped develop numerous players who went on the play at the NCAA DI, DII, DIII, and NAIA levels.
An outstanding player in his own right, Bladen played at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he stayed on as a student-assistant, helping guide the Panthers to a 15-3-2 record, earning their first Horizon League Tournament Championship, as well as the first NCAA DI Tournament berth in team history.
Bladen played for Scunthorpe United Football Club reserve and youth teams in England before starting his collegiate playing career at NCAA Division II Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, where he played in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He totaled 11 goals and 10 assists, helping the Bobcats to a 31-8-5 record, including two conference titles. He helped send the team to the NCAA DII Tournament, where he scored the winning goal in the first round, the game winner in the Elite Eight, and the winning penalty kick in the Final Four, sending the Bobcats to their first ever NCAA DII National Championship Final.
After transferring to UW-Milwaukee, Bladen started every game during his junior and senior seasons. During his senior year, he was the leading scorer on the team. He also was named to the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll and received his team's Scholar-Athlete Award.
Coach Bladen earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology from UW-Milwaukee in 2014, followed by a Masters of Science in Sports Management and Leadership in 2016.
Lees-McRae College inducted Bladen into their Hall of Fame in 2022.
The women’s soccer program reached the NCCAA National Championship game last season, their best finish in team history. Under coach Bladen’s direction, the team will look to continue to build upon their recent success and reach new levels in future seasons.