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GCU Running Club Head Coach Signs Off

Kimberly smiles with student-athletes
June 10, 2021

Longtime Lope Weeldreyer departs to pursue new career

By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

The end of an era.

Kimberly Weeldreyer has stepped away from her role as head coach for Grand Canyon University Running Club after building the program from scratch just five years ago.

“It was cool to start something new, and get kids excited about road racing,” said Weeldreyer. “I have loved watching GCU Club Sports grow, and it’s special that students have this program as an option to stay active and get involved.”

Lopes’ senior – and team captain – Ryan McQuillan was a member of the club for each of his four years at GCU. During his time as a Lope, McQuillan got to see the lasting impact that Weeldreyer had on the program and on each individual that crossed paths with her.

“She has such a bubbly personality, she created a very fun and talkative atmosphere, and she was always laughing,” said McQuillan. “Her best quality as a coach was that she spent time with everyone. She wanted to be there for every single athlete to make them feel included.”

Weeldreyer’s long history with GCU began when she served as head coach to the Lopes’ Division II Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country program from 2007-2013, and assistant indoor and outdoor track and field coach from 2010-2013. In addition to her coaching endeavors, she also put her Doctor of Education in Leadership and Teacher Innovation degree to good use when she guided GCU doctoral students in completing their dissertation.

While she has created quite the distinguished rap sheet as a Lope, Weeldreyer’s departure was motivated by her passion for education and desire to pursue a new chapter in this field of work.

“The whole pandemic got me thinking, and I decided it was time for a career change,” said Weeldreyer. “I am looking at opportunities on the administration side of education. I went ahead and took the principal test.”

It is far from an easy goodbye for Weeldreyer, but she has found comfort in progress and potential the squad has displayed.

“In this last year, I really saw the team rise to the occasion in leading each other, so it seems like the perfect time for me to step away,” said Weeldreyer. “They are all excellent student-athletes, they are focused in the classroom, and they understand the training and preparations that races require.”

As for Weeldreyer’s thoughts on running as she enters this new phase of her life, it’s safe to say she will not be hanging up her running shoes just yet.

“I cannot thank the administration enough for allowing my little energetic self to be a part of the coaching staff.,” said Weeldreyer. “I enjoyed the ride as a coach, but just know that you never stop being a runner.

You keep on running.”

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