Beginning his ninth season with the Texan and Lady Texan cross country and track and field teams is Frank Barker, who primarily works with the distance runners.
Barker played an instrumental role in helping the Texans set a collegiate record 11 consecutive NJCAA Men's Outdoor National Championships. Barker has numerous student-athletes who have earned All-American honors and set school and national records, most recently Gladys Jemaiyo who set the women's 5000m with a time of 16:38.42, breaking her own national record set in 2019 in College Station when she ran a 16:51.52.
Coaching the South Plains men's and women's cross country teams, Barker recently helped lead the Texans and Lady Texans to a pair of top-five finishes at the 2019 Cross Country National Championships in El Paso, with Jemaiyo earning All-American honors, leading the Lady Texans with a fourth-place national finish in a time of 1:20:49.6
Barker oversaw a third-place finish by the Texans at the 2014 NJCAA Cross Country Championships and a 2014 National Champion finish in the Men’s Half Marathon. Antibahs Kibiwott Kosgey earned an All-American standing with his performance, garnering a national runner-up finish in the cross country meet held at Shadow Hills Golf Course in Lubbock, Texas. Kosgey also was the national champion for the NJCAA Half Marathon in Topeka, Kan. In addition, he helped clinch the Texans ninth consecutive outdoor crown when he finished first in the 3000-meter steeplechase and had a second place finish in the 1500 and 5000.
In addition, Barker helped guide three more athletes to an outdoor national runner-up finish. These include newcomers Lyndi Hanson in the 10,000, Hassan Abdi in the 10,000, and Victoria Salvadores in the 3000 steeplechase. Salvadores also had a third-place finish in the 5000, and third in the 3000 and Mile during the indoor season.
In 2012, Barker helped guide Darroneshia Lott to individual championships at the cross-country and half-marathon championships. Lott led the Lady Texans to a third-place finish in the team standings at the cross-country championships and a runner-up finish at the half-marathon that was run in Levelland.
The 2011 cross country season saw Barker help lead the South Plains women to yet another share of the NJCAA Half-Marathon crown. Thanks to a 1-2 finishing punch from freshman Darroneshia Lott and sophomore Kirsten Taylor. The women’s cross country team also spent time with a No. 1 ranking before finishing fourth at the NJCAA Cross Country Championships in Hobbs, N.M., a week prior to winning the half-marathon. The cross country championship was highlighted by a sweep of the men’s and women’s individual titles by Kemoy Campbell and Natoya Goule. Both would go on to win multiple championships each at the NJCAA Outdoor Championships hosted by South Plains College.
His first season with South Plains College proved to be successful as he helped the Lady Texans to a share of the NJCAA Half-Marathon championship in November 2010. A week earlier at the NJCAA cross country championships, both squads ran well with the Lady Texans coming up just short of the title with a runner-up finish and the Texans finishing third. Seven athletes earned All-American honors.
Coach Barker spent 39 years as a coach and teacher at Levelland Independent School District. His career in Levelland began in 1969 as an assistant football coach. He began coaching the cross-country team in 1976 where he helped his teams qualify to every regional meet, except 1983, until his retirement.
In 1982 Barker took over as the head track coach for varsity girls.
After his retirement from Levelland after the 2008 school year, Coach Barker signed on to assist the cross country and track teams at Lubbock Christian University. In his two-year stint at LCU Barker helped coach five athletes to the NAIA national meet and one became an all-American.