Sparks is the winningest cross country coach in SIU history with six total MVC titles (five men's, one women's).
Saluki men's cross country had the 13th-highest team GPA in the country.
Jeff Schirmer, one of the most decorated track and cross country athletes in recent Saluki history, is in his second season as the director of operations for both the Southern Illinois track and cross country programs.
Schirmer is a three-time All-American, three-time outdoor national qualifier, four-time Missouri Valley MVP, 19-time MVC Champion and 22-time All-MVC selection. Schirmer is the last Saluki cross country runner to be named an All-American -- a feat he accomplished two years in a row -- and he is also the school record holder in the 10K race.
Since graduating from the University in 2011, Schirmer has gone on to accomplish some extraordinary feats in his postcollegiate career. Schirmer finished fifth at the U.S. Cross Country Championship, finished fifth for Team USA at the NACAC Championship and qualified for the US Olympic Trials in the 10K race, where he finished 16th overall.
2010-11:Earned NCAA Second Team All-American honors... NCAA National Qualifier...Notched a ninth at the NCAA Championships in the 10,000m...Named Missouri Valley Conference Most Valuable Athlete...MVC Outdoor Event Champion in the 10,000m, 5000m, and 1500m...MVC Indoor Event Champion in 1 Mile, 3000m and 5000m...All- MVC honoree in 10,000m, 5000m, 1500m, 3000m, and 1 mile, Named MVC Track Athlete of the Week for Feb. 2 and April 19.
2009-10:Earned his second NCAA All-American accolade after his 19th place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship... Finished second at the NCAA Midwest regional to earn his third All-Region Award in cross country...Named Missouri Valley Conference Most Valuable Men's Athlete for accumulating the most points at the indoor conference meet...Captured the MVC indoor titles in the 5000m and mile races...Finished second in the 3000m...Earned all-MVC honors in the 5000m, 3000m, and mile.
2008-09:Awarded NCAA All-American after his 25th place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship...Named the 2009 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Most Valuable Athlete and 2008 MVC Cross Country Athlete of the Year...Ran 28:55.34 for 10,000m at the Mt. SAC relays for No. 2 All-Time at SIU...Won four Missouri Valley Conference titles (Indoor 3k & 5k, Outdoor 5k, 10k) for the second-straight year...Was a member of the MVC Runner-up distance medley relay...Qualified for the NCAA outdoor championship in the 5000m and 10,000m and competed in the 10,000 (finished 21st)...Finished fourth out of 21 competitors at the outdoor NCAA Mideast Regional with a time of 14:09.21 in the 5000m for the eighth fastest time in SIU history...Ran the fifth fastest 3k time (8:12.53) and second fastest 5k time (14:11.60) in SIU history during the indoor track season.
2007-08:MVC Cross Country Athlete of the Year after winning the conference title in 24:31.47...MVC Scholar-Athlete in cross country...2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Qualifier in the 5000m run...Won four Missouri Valley Conference titles (Indoor 3k & 5k, Outdoor 5k, 10k)...2008 MVC Scholar-Athlete.
2006-07:Finished All-Region in cross country (25th)...Won the Bradley Classic and finished second at the SIU Early Bird...Earned his first MVC Championship with his win 10,000m run at the conference championship...Finished third in the 5,000m run at the outdoor championship...Redshirted during the indoor season.
High School:Cross country and track Most Valuable Player at Triad High School...Broke school records in the 800m, 1600m and 3200m and 3-mile (cross country)...Two-time state qualifier in the 4x800 and 3200m and one time in the 1600m...Personal bests in the 800m and 1600m were 1:56 and 4:15, respectively.
Personal:Full name is Jeffrey Scott Schirmer...Graduated from Southern Illinois in August, 2011, with a Bachelors in Accounting and a Masters in Accounting, with a focus on Tax...Born Nov. 8, 1986...Engaged to former Saluki cross country/track athlete Emily Toennies.