Coaching changes announced for Auggie track & field

Augsburg Track & Field

Augsburg University Sports Information Department

MINNEAPOLIS -- Augsburg University men's and women's track and field head coach Keith Barnier is resigning his position to become an assistant coach at the Division I University of St. Thomas. Chris Dixon, who has served as an assistant for Barnier for the past two seasons, will serve as interim head coach for the Auggies, the athletic department has announced.

In addition to his role as a track and field coach, Dixon also serves the Augsburg Athletic Department as its Director of Athletic Diversity and Inclusion, and was promoted this summer to an Assistant Athletic Director post. The Director of Athletic Diversity and Inclusion position is largely made possible through the two-year NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women's grant program.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to be the next Augsburg women's and men's track and field head coach. I'm excited to coach such a strong, diverse and focused track and field team in an already competitive MIAC," Dixon said.

Dixon, who was a NCAA provisional qualifier in the triple jump during his competitive days at the University of Minnesota, coached sprinters and jumpers during his two seasons as an Augsburg assistant coach.

In his role as director of athletic diversity and inclusion, Dixon has introduced programs to support student-athletes of color and diverse backgrounds, including the Men of Color social networking group. He has also worked on academic and life-skills development programs and created more networking opportunities for Auggie student-athletes. He has helped to educate Augsburg athletic staff on diversity and inclusion issues. Dixon leads the department's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, established in the fall of 2020 to work with student-athletes and administration on issues facing student-athletes of diverse backgrounds.

"We're excited to have Chris Dixon take the helm as our new interim head men's and women's track and field coach," said Augsburg Athletic Director Jeff Swenson. "As part of our administrative team as assistant athletic director in charge of athletic diversity and inclusion, Chris is a valued part of the Augsburg athletic family. Not only am I excited for coach Dixon, I am super-excited for the student-athletes, as I am confident that Chris will be a great leader and coach in our department."

Dixon has been involved in the health and fitness community in the Twin Cities since his graduation from Minnesota in 2004. He has operated several fitness and training businesses in the Twin Cities, along with the non-profit Health Is Love organization. Dixon holds fitness certifications from the American Council on Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and USA Track and Field.

As an entrepreneur, Dixon has been honored by the Dakota Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, was awarded a Buckman Fellowship for Leadership in Philanthropy and was selected as a "Rising Alumni" by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development in 2014.

Dixon earned his bachelor's degree in sports management from Minnesota in 2004, then earned his master's degree in applied kinesiology (sport and exercise science) from Minnesota in 2005.

Barnier spent three seasons as Augsburg's track and field head coach, coaching two MIAC individual champions, four All-MIAC athletes, three All-MIAC Honorable Mention selections and two USTFCCCA All-Central Region selections.

"I would like to thank Augsburg University and Jeff Swenson for giving me the opportunity and entrusting me with the leadership of the men's and women's track and field programs," Barnier said. "It's been a pleasure getting to work with all these wonderful student-athletes, and I wish them and Augsburg University nothing but the best. Go Auggies!"

Prior to coming to Augsburg, Barnier had served as head coach for the track and field and cross country programs at Abilene Christian University (Texas), where he successfully led the Wildcats, winners of 58 NCAA Division II and NAIA individual national titles, in their transition from Division II to Division I status.

Prior to moving to Texas, Barnier spent 11 seasons (2002-13) as track and field and cross country head coach at his alma mater, Minnesota State University Moorhead. He also served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama (women's track and field, 1997-2001, and men's and women's track and field, 1990-92) and Clemson University (men's track and field, 1993-97). Barnier served as an assistant coach for women's track and field and cross country at the University of St. Thomas (1987-90) and as interim head coach for men's and women's track and field at Carleton College (1992-93).

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